Monday, December 31, 2012

Riding the New Year's Subway

Prompt: Write a holiday story.

Time: 10 minutes


It's my favorite time to ride the train. Lots of the guys say to me, "Naw, Chad, you ain't wanna be around for that shit. All 'em floozies doin' nonsense and them guys itchin' for a fight." But I brush them off and ride anyway.

It's always been my favorite holiday: all the glam and sham all mashed together so everyone thinks it's a new beginning when it's just one more shitty year down the drain. You don't see sequins any other time of the year but New Year's Eve. All that glitz and gold twinkling and girls tossing their hair like they got money or something. I ignore most of the guys, 'specially later at night when their lids get lower, right along with their hand on their date's thigh.

But the kids you see, their eyes are always sparkling like all those sequins, and you can almost smell the whiteness of the snow on their boots. They can't sit still, all that limitless energy bound up in tiny little bodies . . . it's like they're ready to yank their parents into the new year instead of just off the train.

This year I'm following this one girl. Not like a stalker, nothing like that. She's just been up and down the One line four times already, carrying the same shiny red box. The silver bow fell off one time, but even though I saw it, I didn't pick it up, and eventually one of the guys by the door in a backwards baseball cap and Timberlands picked it up. He tried to get a kiss for it, too, but I guess she's saving her kiss for someone else.

I love her a little for not wearing high heels, and for obviously forgetting to put in earrings. If I still worked in Columbus Circle and dressed in khakis and shaved more than once a month, she's the kind of girl I'd have asked out. Maybe someday. For now I'll just ride the train into 2013.

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