The Train

I was naked, somehow -- and freshly showered -- in the subway station. There were two others. Someone faceless, and the Shark. Somewhere off to the side the men had a wordless exchange. What to do with this girl? their eyes said. The faceless one gestured as if to go to me, but the Shark held him off. "No," he said. "Let me."

I faced the platform and had my back to him, but I could feel him walking up from behind. I was swaying slightly. Was I drunk? Drugged? And I was cold. But slowly, I felt his arms wrap around me, the sleeves of his shirt absorbing the water off my skin. And his body pressed against my back as he towered over me, enveloping me. He was a big Shark.

He said something now that I can't remember. Maybe he just asked if I was O.K. But then, somehow, he eased me onto a train and we were sitting, me in one seat, he somewhere behind me.

We rambled outside and the sky was brown. Black and gray buildings were dwarfed, silhouetted against this unnatural color. And then they started: tornadoes, tall and skinny, spiraling their way down into the cityscape.

"Look!" I cried, and in a moment, he was at my side again. And again, as I pressed my hands to the window, he wrapped himself around me from behind. "Tornadoes. Have you ever seen anything like that in this city before?"

"No, never. Oh my god."

I leaned back against his chest and he squeezed me tightly. My head nuzzled back into his neck, and I could feel his face against my hair, feel him inhaling, exhaling.


Now we were outside on a city block. Residential. It was sunny. We'd come through the storm. There were people all around. People who knew us. People who we didn't want to know about us. And so he backed away now as I looked over my shoulder at him and turned.

"I'll see you later, right?" he said, smiling.

"Yeah," I said. "I'll call you."

He slowly disappeared, around a corner, behind a stoop, down the block. And I knew he wanted me.