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.


This train is half-empty and I am happy to sit, but not so happy when I realize someone has spilled sweet coffee all over the floor and it has now dried into a tacky glue sticking my boots to the floor. I pick my head up from this distraction and there he is again: the Oddly Beautiful Boy. He is sitting across the aisle from me, only one person between us. I have never been so close to him before. His eyes are closed, as always, his hands folded into his lap and I can see that he is maybe 25 years old, tops. I feel like a vampire, sucking at his beauty, watching him dozing, looking at the bump of his nose, the curve of his mouth, the angle of his jaw. I realize I have seen him maybe five or six times in the past year, about every other month, and he is at an age where a change of job, love interest, apartment is imminent and would change his commute. I may never see him again. “You have an amazing, beautiful face. Whenever I see you on the train it is a delight,” would be what I would tell him, if I dared, but I don’t dare, even though I do not want anything at all from him, and now here is my stop and it is time to go to work.

After work, on the evening F train back to Brooklyn now I am drained from the day. I am distractedly aiming my eyes towards a youngish man sitting adjacent. But really I am thinking about the urban cowboy across the way with his ridiculous palomino suede cowboy boots and ostentatious cowboy hat, there is a crashing landslide of music cascading in my head, I am anticipating dinner at a charming bistro with a friend. The youngish man has hair as shiny and rough as a bale of straw, and it is falling into his eyes as he looks down into the book in his lap. Suddenly he jerks his head, flips his hair out of his eyes and as he does so his eyes flash around towards me. I am caught looking, our eyes meet, his are enormous and the palest blue of winter sky and for a moment I am pinned, my heart beating. Then he drops his head back to his reading, and the next station is mine and I leave him and the cowboy with the doors sliding closed behind me.


Blogger cherrydragonut said...

Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. - Mark Twain

I know, it sounds like a preachin' herbal tea bag...Next time you bump into him, say hi! Tell him....tell much you care. My mother use to call me and sing I just called to say I love you...I just called to say how much I care....She'd sing the whole song. That and Happy Birthday. The song and dance for today, I suppose, is Happy Days Are Here Again....really does calm the old beast.

2:10 PM  
Blogger ttractor said...

Here's the thing...I am not interested in meeting Oddly Beautiful Boy. He has a face that is fascinating to me, but that is just genetics, it doesn't really say anything about who he is. And his eyes are always closed, so there is zero interactions between us, and zero ability to do so.

If I told him how he delighted me it would be to give him a gift of my delight. But that is so inappropriate from a stranger on a train, when you are trying to sleep or tune out the world and just get where you are going.

10:28 PM  

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