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  • I didn't mean to take the G Train. I didn't even know where it was going, except to Queens. Somewhere in Queens. Somewhere I had never heard of in Queens. I was in Brooklyn. Headed to Manhattan. For important meetings with important clients. Manhattan clients.

    Blame it on the photos I was trying to take as the subway churned into the station, the search for the exact movement within the frame, the almost story, the perhaps story, the soon story.

    I probably should have focused on those meetings. But when everyone else hopped on, I hopped on, too. Just like that.

    Okay, maybe I should have noticed that the car wasn't sardined with early morning commuters. Okay, that the others weren't wearing suits. That the stations we passed were unfamiliar, uncrowded, dark even. But. I failed to notice all that until after we were already far down the tracks. I was too busy taking in the story of this. Making the story of this.

    There across from me a woman straight from a Fellini movie: white-rimmed oversized sunglasses (yes, on the subway), long black hair pulled back from her narrow olive face, black and white striped dress, red bangle bracelet and red red shoes. Applying powder to her nose and shiny shiny glossy bronze color to her lips.

    Next to her a big big kid in shorts and untied sneakers reading a thick pamphlet, brow scrunched.

    Next to him a woman sleeping, her head lolling slightly and loosely between her shoulders.

    I wondered. If she would miss her stop. If he would learn what he was trying to learn. If she would make herself look just right.

    If something would happen.

    This something was of course all in my head. As I headed to an important meeting in Manhattan.

    Next to me a prim slim woman in a polka dot dress with gumdrop buttons, smiling that smile. You know, that smile.

    Down a few seats a burly guy with an MTA patch on his shirt, stiff boots, lost in a bulky book.

    I probably should have gotten off at a station that offered another train and a chance to get to that Manhattan meeting. There was no subway map on this car. Just these people doing these things making this story early this morning. On the way to Queens.

    At the next stop a skinny boy maybe 14, skinny legs, skinny arms, red shorts baggy below the knee, a red muscle shirt revealing skinny shoulders, black high-tops up skinny ankles and a
    big black cello case leaning up against him like a fat friend.

    A Bob Dylan-y kind of middle-age guy to my right slicing the air with his right hand, da-da-da, and singing the yo-yo-yo of rap spilling from his earbuds.

    An older woman, wan, her pouchy handbag pooling on her lap, her eyes staring out at nothing.

    I wondered. If he loved that cello the way it loved him. If he was crazy just a little. If she had lost everything.

    These few people. Finding their way to Queens. Stories surfaced and snapped. Circled and crept.

    And then the end. End of the line. Up out of the dark tunnels into spaces with suits, more and more suits. More newspapers with a fold. Red shorts and striped dress and polka dots and MTA patch swallowed by suits. I wanted to wave goodbye.

    Instead, I followed suits down onto the M Train, one stop to midtown.

    I was early. For my important Manhattan meetings with important Manhattan clients. After all that.

    All morning the stories brushed by me, whispery.
    All morning I kept looking for them past the shoulders of my important Manhattan clients.
    Those few people on the G train making their way to Queens.
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