I'll go with thee to the lane's end... I am a kind of burr, I shall stick. Shakespeare, Measure for Measure

I write not to teach but to learn. Rebecca West

drew's writing:

  • "Always Forever Now," Ideomancer volume 13, issue 2
  • "Black Sun," Black Static # 32
  • "Bread or Cake" and "Pride/Shame,"2nd Annual Philadelphia One-Minute Play Festival
  • "Copper Heart," Polluto Magazine issue 5, A Steampunk Orange
  • "The Accomplished Birder's Guide to Overcoming Rejection," Last Drink Bird Head, edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer
  • "Another Night With the Henriksens," Player's Theater Halloween One-Act Festival NYC 2008
  • "Hating the Lovers," and "Pipe Down!" Geez Magazine: Thirty Sermons You Would Never Hear in Church
  • "Beth/slash/Nathan," Paper Fruit Blogiversary Contest

Sunday, December 04, 2011

passengers

After work, we take the train from Philly to Ambler to see my dad, who is a charismatic nurseryman in Montgomery County.

(Walking around Doylestown, he showed me trees he planted in his 20s, and told of bygone revels where acid tabs floated in wine bottles floating around all-night lawn parties).

My camerado and I get on at Market East station with some books and half a pecan pie for my dad. The seats are packed with commuters; I see two together, free only because a woman has parked herself on the aisle and covered the remaining seats with a bag and backpack. I ask if we can sit there, she pauses her phone conversation, stands with an air of resentment, and indicates we may scoot in. I do so, but this has already taken so long and been so awkward that my camerado has taken the solo seat behind us.

I looked forward to this journey with him, so now I'm resenting this woman who took up three seats on a packed commuter train and prevented me from sitting next to someone who's only, you know, my soulmate. The woman resumes her phone conversation, conducting it in a language that to my ears sounds African. My resentment shrivels like a slug in salt. Everyone has a journey, and no immigrant has an easy journey.

The woman talks through two stations, and gets off the train. Of her entire conversation, only one sentence, folded casually into the surrounding African cadences, is in English:

everything you have will be destroyed

We have a great dinner in Ambler with my dad. He tells unbelievable stories about our family, raves about the pecan pie we made, and reminds me of the time we saw two whooping cranes with their (sole) offspring in a grassy river bed along the Gulf Coast, which, incredibly, I had forgotten. On the way back from Ambler in the empty train, I tell my camerado about what the woman from Africa said on the phone. His eyes grow large.

"That's really ominous," he says.

"I know!" I say.

"It sounds like something you would make up in one of those stories you write."

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