St. Mark's

It's late by now. Eight or so. There's a man in the subway station waiting for a train with a yellow circle to come by. He could take the train on the right, the express, but it would only take him to 14th street. He'd have to walk down to St. Mark's from there, or transfer to a local. He could just take the local on the left and save himself the trouble.

"I could save myself the trouble," he says out loud.

He is teetering back and forth. An attentive bystander would surely notice his decision-making process. But no one pays attention anymore. And he knows that, somewhere in the back of his head, but he mumbles to himself anyway, as if to somehow justify his behavior to those around him.

The express shows up, and he realizes the decision was easy.

Get on.

So he gets on the train. On the train he eyes a young teenage girl. She notices his glance, and he smiles at her. Not meant to be rude, not meant to egg her on, not meant to be seedy.

But she looks away, and he can see that she will never understand his glance, and if she someday does he will be a smeared watercolor of memory in her head with no face and no address. But she'll forgive him all the same.

He returns home to find his wife, who kisses him on the lips and tells him his dinner is in the oven.