Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Betrayed By His Right Sock

That’s what I’d tell him. That’s what I’d tell him if I could bring myself to look him in the eye and tell him I’m leaving. Tell him the weather here, the absence of the crash of waves outside my window, the packed subway cars where people barely make eye contact, it’s driving me crazy. I’d tell him that I envied the comfort he took in seeing the yellow cabs whip past his toes, but if I skirted death by taxi one more time I’m not sure my heart would recover from the beat that it skipped. I’d tell him I’d miss him. I’d tell him I love him.

I watched him, with my back pressed into the wall behind me. The elastic on his right sock had weakened and refused to stay in place around his ankle, choosing instead to bunch up around the middle of his foot. He twirled his foot probably hoping he could work with gravity to get it back into place, ultimately knowing it was useless but not yet driven to the point of taking his shoe off to fix it properly.

I watched him lean his elbow into the not-comfortable-enough armrest of the chair and cradle his head in between the thumb and index finger of his open hand. The door opened, and for probably the 15th time in 20 minutes he raised his head to meet eyes with … not me. Then he left.

The air outside was finally just cold, not bitter or painful, and the only trace of snow was the odd mound of dirty ice pressed into the curb. The sky seemed to mute every sound except that of the grit underneath the soles of my shoes as I moved my toe back and forth across the stone of the doorway to crush my cigarette. I didn’t smoke until I came here.

I watched him throw his hood over his head and shrink into the distance. Then I walked in the other direction.

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