jolie laide: More on Commuting

jolie laide

I started this when I lived in Brooklyn and struggled for grace in a city that grants moments of beauty and ugliness breathtakingly close to one another. Now I live in a place where things are a different kind of ugly and the beauty is pedestrian. I struggle with that.


More on Commuting

One of my best friends had a very difficult delivery of her second child. Terrible complications, a mother dying of cancer, another small child at home, and her extended hospital stay was draining everyone. So I stepped in to help. I went to the hospital, help care for her newborn son, made sure she got her meds on schedule, guard her from unwanted visitors.

It was all I could do. She looked horrible. She was so frightened about what was happening to her body. She was wasted and so terribly ill. I would take care of her, then go home and cry, at how powerless I was to make her better, at how vulnerable she was.

Riding the subway home one day, it is off-hours, the middle of the day. There are not many people on the train, and I am sunk in a whirl of upset, fear, anger for and about my friend. But I notice the guy getting on the train downtown. He is dressed up in cheap suit with an exaggerated strut, and I smell that perhaps he is fronting hard, fresh from some degrading experience with a social worker, probation officer, court official. He has his hand inside a potato chip bag, awkward and conspicuously hidden and that makes me want to watch him for bad intent.

He sits next to a woman, odd because there are only maybe 7 people on the train, he could sit anywhere. He starts to talk to her, and she answers in a low tone, non-committal, trying to be polite and shrug him off. But he persists in talking to her, asking her questions, which I can only barely make out and I can tell she is getting uncomfortable.

Then he gets louder, purposefully, so the whole train can hear what he is doing to her: What makes a woman think her pussy is so important? What makes her think she is sitting on the goddam world if she has a cunt? Huh? Why is that?

He is bullying her, humiliating her in front of everyone, her head is down, I can feel her confusion, helplessness, shame…why is this happening? How is this happening?

And I am already full of fear for the day. And I have had enough of bullying. Without getting up, without making a physical move I yell: Hey! You don’t know her! You don’t talk to her that way! Stop it!

He gives me a look, sizing me up to see if he needs to pay any attention to me. Yeah, he does need to, I am fuck-all furious. I lock eyes with him and will not back down my glare. He gets up, shuffles to the door, leaves at the next station. The women in the car thank me with their eyes. But I did it for my friend in the hospital, because I could do nothing else.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well done tt!

Best wishes on your friend's delivery. And kudos for helping.

Hang in there.

(the shallot)

1:21 AM  

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