Letters from the Blue Line, part 1

A blinding peace dominates this morning. It’s almost surreal. But everything out there is true, is real. Is calm.

A man is selling batteries on the blue line today. “One dollar” is all he says, going across the train car, and back up the aisle, fanning across his path the AA batteries he’s peddling. He’s on at Grand, off at San Pedro. No takers in car 137B; maybe he’ll he better luck in the car ahead.

“The next stop is Washington Station.”

There are a few regulars who hustle their wares on different parts of the line, but this guy is new. The crazy angry dyke gets on at Washington. Mumble-shouts about…something?…finds an object on the floor, and settles in quietly to a seat, chewing on her gum with intensity while she talks shit to the world passing by outside.

“This is no fun! It is fun with the dark angel, it ain’t fun with you. You ain’t what you plan to be in this lifetime, with a bunch of fucking people laughing in your face. (mumble mumble…)”

A woman and her young son board the train and sit behind the hooded dyke.

“That child better quit fucking with me!” the dyke turns around, and mumbles something angry and fast to a boy about 3.

His mother, shocked and angry, shudders under her pink sequined headband. “I know you are not talking to my son like that!”

Crazy threatens to punch mom in the face. Says she wasn’t talking to her son, but she’ll punch her in the face.

“I know you’re crazy but I don’t care!” I will hit you.” says Mom, exposing the gap in her upper row of teeth.

Crazy stands up. Mom stands up. Boy stands below the two, in between. Crazy looks down, picks up her backpack and moves down the train car. She rises and exits at Florence, stopping to look in the trashcan just outside the train’s door.

By Artesia, Mom is laughing about it on the phone. “She got up and she looked at me…(pause)…if she had I woulda been calling saying ‘Pick up the kid.'”

It’s her mom on the other end of the line, the boy’s Nana. The boy tugs at Mom’s floral tank top and speaks a heavy toddler dialect, but articulates “Gameboy.” His curly hair obscures his mother’s gut. The boy stands up on the seat beside Mom, bundled in his camo zip-up hoodie, armed with a tiny bright orange backpack, and makes a song to his own rhythm: “boop boo bum bum…”

They exit at Wardlow, and the boy’s small feet patter in short, quick steps to keep up with Mom’s pace.





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