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10pm Skytrain commute

Working man on the sky train with a face like Spencer Tracy in Boom Town, forty years later. His hands are my Dad’s: short, wide, and strong as muscly octopi, a few digits short. Purple marks on the nails. Cuts. Splinters. Construction pants have drywall mud splattered on them. Still working this hard with a full head of white? Taking transit home? Lunch kit protected between steel toed boots.images

He doesn’t look like a drinker. So why is he not retired? I run through a myriad of possibilities in my head: a son he invested with who ran him dry, an evil ex-wife, he didn’t buy real estate at the right time. Or maybe, he just simply loves to work and doesn’t know what the hell he’d do without his contract and his crew?

I want to cup those hands against my cheek and give them a kiss, they look so tired. But I’d probably get a slap for the sake of pride.

And really, when I think about it, who am I to feel sorry for him? He’s healthy enough to be employed, and by this time, he must be damn good at his job. Hm. What will I be doing at his age? Playing maids on stage in Prince George. That is, if I don’t lose my hearing or my mind.

My gaze shifts from the manual labour boots to a gleaming pair of mid-grade men’s dress shoes. I catch myself thinking, “Be Italian leather or go home, you poser.” I chuckle at myself again. Who am I to judge? I dress like shit, despite my good taste. I look up the pant leg and see a decent suit and tie. Okay, he’s winning me over. But he’s got his sunglasses on, at night, in a subway tunnel. Oh well. Maybe this is so he can stare at other people and not be seen? Unlike me? Beautiful full mouth and wide cheekbones, signature Japanese. It’s ten at night. He’s working late. A young man. A climber.Unknown

The woman beside me is reading a book on the Hudson’s Bay Company. She seems as though she only has one butt cheek planted on the seat, leaning away from my shoulder as politely as she can. I discretely sniff my sweater. It smells like wet cashmere (told you I have good taste) not an unpleasant smell. Maybe a bit like kitten. Is it my breath? I do eat a raw onion cheese avocado anchovy paste sandwich every night in the play. (my poor husband) Maybe she just doesn’t want to be touched anymore while traveling by train? I can respect that. I scooch over and give her more space. “The history of the blanket.” I snort ever so quietly. I wonder if they mention anything about smallpox in that clean white book with its signature Bay colour bars?

images-2A young woman ahead wears a great deal of make-up. The mask is a bit smudgy by now. Only the brows fully intact. Earlier in the day, Fellow and I were walking up the drive and passed a woman, caked. He sighed. “Why does she smear all that brown on her face? I guess to hide the dark brown freckles? I can still see them. And nothing in this world is lovelier than the colour of brown that is her actual skin.”

Reminds me of a woman tonight, after the play, asked me what I do to take care of my skin. I said, “I hardly ever wear make up.” She nodded, disappointed. That wasn’t a regimen she was prepared to do.images-1

I am distracted, yet again, by a young lanky man with low slung pants and a black toque. He has red cloth wrist bands and a significant petulant nose. He grabs the top bar of the car and hangs his entire tall body from it in a curved stretch, showing off his muscled arms and a peek of his torso. His knees are bent and he’s on tip toe. Could be a dancer. It’s rather magnificent.

Ah, the sky train. Where else do you find such a mishmash of people so closely knit and easily observable? Moments like this I get overwhelmed with love for humanity. These marvellous beings, mostly silent, taking this moment to fret or dream or catch some sleep.

Then someone farts. Silent and deadly.

Ah yes, that’s the human race I know. Keeping me from sentimentality.

Photo on 2015-09-25 at 10.28 AM #4

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