The E train to Kew Gardens bends time. It does. If you check your watch it takes only forty five minutes to get out there from the city, so it’s not that bad. As a Brooklynite it’s not that far off from my own commute time. But sit on that train, and something about the consistent long-winded rumble of the train between express stops reverberates into the space time continuum, eliciting some echoing mirror effect that loops back upon itself, doubling the resultant waves to implode the fabric of chronology. Then it finally chucks you off the train by the Union Turnpike with a sudden inescapable urge to eat prunes.
Maybe it’s simply the length of space between stops that opens the vortex, but I couldn’t help myself from checking the map of the subway every few minutes or so, convinced that ‘I must be there by now…’
But, the time-leacher was worth the trip. Mainly because I got to help my friends move from a well arranged but still tightly packed studio, into a roomy one-bedroom, that left the young couple with soooo much extra space, it made them feel, as they put it, “a little dirty.”
But the cherry on that trip, was the ride back. While delayed at Jackson Heights, I just happened to look out the window.
She wasn’t dancing. If she had been, it wouldn’t have been worth watching. She’d have been another busker, or one of those horrible people who have confidence enough to dance in inappropriate places without feeling silly. (I really don’t know how they do that.) No, she wasn’t dancing. She was practicing.
Her eyes closed, and her mouth counting out the steps. Her feet barely moved. They scooted maybe an eighth of their intended stride. It wasn’t even as much as a step. She leaned the count into her feet. Alone on the platform, she practiced her steps in miniature.
But as she went along, her strokes kept broadening. Swaying a little more. Sliding her toe more than an inch or so. Two more box steps and her hands transformed, almost instinctively, into a pose. All the while, her eyes closeed; her lips counting the beat. Then, in one final fall away, her foot let slip a full crescent step, running full bredth across the concrete. Her toe bounced as it landed, and that sudden jostle was enough to open her eyes. She saw the man up the platform staring at her with wrinkled eyebrows, and she flipped her head away.
She straightened up, smoothed her skirt, and repositioned her purse on her shoulder.
As my train started on out of the station, she leaned out to look down the track, grimacing at the sight of nothing.
Picture from corvid73