I started reading E.M. Forster's Maurice last evening, made it through the very short first chapter. I had gotten the book earlier in the day at Junk, it being a book that I have wanted to read for a while, it being a gay book, it being a Forster book, whom I had not read until last night (and still now, just ten, fifteen pages of), and it being a book that shares my name.
This morning on my way to work, the trains and subway platforms were far less crowded than normal, most people at home with today off. On the L, I tried reading this book but was distracted and annoyed by this person standing right against me even though the train was not at all crowded. I glared at him until finally, annoyed enough, I moved across the train to escape looking at his hairy neck, for some reason, so close to me, distracting me from the words on the pages, that hair, a neon sign in the corner of my eye.
And soon I got off at Union Square, where I waited for the N/R. I was leaning against a pole, starting to get into a reading groove when I felt someone touch my sides. I closed the book, wondering who this was saying hi to me, thinking it might be David since I ran into him on this same platform at this time last week. I turn around though, and there is no one behind me. And so I glance to my side, around the pole, and see a crazy looking homeless man, catching his eye before he averts his gaze. I feel inside my bag just to make sure my wallet is still in there, and get on the train, which just arrived, very freaked out. This man was nightmarish looking, like the boogey man of your childhood imagination - long gray hair, crazy eyes, a hollowed face, and bad posture.
I sat down on a bench, determined to read this book and trying, trying so hard to put this man out of my head, to not be totally freaked out. Sadly, he got on the train also. He started doing some weird non-singing, walking up and down the car, in a low tone, more chanting something than singing, and doing so with his hands up at his chest in front of him, as if he was incanting a spell, a curse. It was awful and nightmarish, this crazed looking man doing this shamanistic rambling. Were it for money, it would have been one thing. His annoyingness would have been rooted in a cause I could point to, that this person is singing, "Lean on Me," (awfully) for money. But with this, I had no clue what the purpose was, and to make matters more awful, more frightening, he kept on looking at me with those crazy eyes as he began to approach me and as he walked past me. He would look straight ahead otherwise, but near me, I got the stare. I kept my eyes on my book, pretending and trying to read, but unable to even begin, this man occupying all my thoughts, and wondering why he was staring at me, why he touched me, and what this could mean.
He finished his chant. The seats on these trains are arranged in the least accommodating way possible, so that all the seats are particularly tight and you’re angled with your legs into someone else’s. I was sitting at the end of a three-seater with another large man at the end of it, a tight little nook in between us. There were empty benches and empty seats all over the car, and yet, this demented living troll came and plopped himself down between us. I wanted to cry. I didn't know why this was happening to me, and it made me think of lots of awful things, namely, it brought up all of the feelings and terror I felt when I was mugged on the train a couple years ago. I thought this was some awful omen also, that this was the part of the book that foreshadowed something gloomy to come, that this man, a Grim Reaper of sorts, was coming to collect something, to let me know it will be collected soon even if I am short on funds today.
I stood up, totally freaked out, and moved to wait by the door. I got off the train and was a mess. This fucked me up perhaps way more than was necessary, and I pushed my way through all the tourists in Herald Square, walking fast away from all of this, just wanting to be in a safe building, my workplace. And I got there soon because of the quick, frantic walking, and once in the elevator, alone, the crowds absent from this normally busy mode of transportation also, there in that elevator, my eyes started to water and I really thought I was going to breakdown and have to take this elevator right back down, that I would flee work because I was too teary to show up. But the elevator opened on floor 8 before any actual tears started to trickle, and I breathed out and went to work, really annoyed that I had to work today, really annoyed that I could not be at Fire Island today where Ethan was off to as I left for work this morning.
The incident stayed with me throughout most of the morning. I kept on trying to figure out why it instilled so much terror in me. And I don't know why. Luckily, there is this passing of time though, the thing I think was a root cause of that terror earlier today, that I was going to die and that would be it, but this same thing I feared eventually erased that fear, that fear fading as the morning wore on, this inability of human beings to hold onto moods for too long, and as time passed, I soon quit thinking about the passing of it, began to get hungry, and instead started to think about what I was going to eat for lunch.
This weekend was an eventful one in some sense, even though, really, I did nothing. I did, however, move out of my old room and into the big room in our apartment. It is so big and so nice, way bigger than a bedroom in New York should be, and it makes me so happy. I painted it this Carolinaish blue. I threw out a bunch of junk and feel so new in this new room, so much better, this space, enough room to absorb my frustrated exhalations without them bouncing back at me. And Ethan has moved into the small room, and is now my roommate, which so far, seems really nice. I am really excited about my living situation for the first time in a really long time, and that is good, good news.