jolie laide

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.


Jabber jabber jabber, my friend and I are on the train and I notice the woman across the aisle looking at me and she has a pad, like the pad I carry with me, and her pen is moving across the page. I think she is drawing me. I have seen this before on the trains, a furtive artist stealing glances and stealing images, quickly before the subject catches on or moves. I think it is invasive, rude somehow, even though I know that I observe and document too. Maybe it is the particular parsing of ones physicality that seems unfairly brutal to me. I wonder if, like some artists, she will give me the sketch when she is done, a sort of payment for unwitting modeling services.

She looks at me again, flips a page and I see that she is not drawing, she is writing, quickly, voluminously. Now I am really curious. My friend and I are having an old argument, one we have had so many times, and I was irritated and bored, edging on nasty and dismissive. I look at people on the subway every day, and now I wonder how I look to her, I think it won't be very nice at all.

My friend gets off at his stop, and without our conversation to distract me now I am thinking about the writer across the aisle. Do I dare to break the anonymity, the unwritten social contract, the peculiar rules of operation of this city? There are business cards in my purse. I take one out, write on the back a directive, an urgency: send me what you are writing. I put it back in my bag, on the top, ready. Do I dare? At my stop, I flip it into her lap, and slip out the doors as they are closing. Now we see what happens.


Blogger slickaphonic said...

Ha! balls that clank, my friend.

12:21 PM  
Blogger ttractor said...

she sent me what she wrote! without being unfairly revealing, I think the cojones prize goes to her.

3:16 PM  
Blogger Dr. S said...

Right freakin' awesome, dear.

3:28 PM  
Blogger MermaidTrain said...

I thought that look was lust! And didn't think it was intended for me!It was exciting to find a business card in my lap even if nothing ever comes of it. You made my day!!!!

11:39 PM  

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