HEROIN ON THE C TRAIN
I am on the C train, headed into the city, writing, thinking, and taking the world in...
A couple get on and sit down across from me , both of them, are swimming in heroin…
The woman sits down and immediately slumps, as a spoon of melting ice cream slumps over its cone, or a belly falls over a belt strap 3 notches too tight. She seems exhausted, because she is, her muscles filled with blood, swimming in heroin. She wears a big snow jacket, tight jeans, and fluffy shoes. He wears old denim, tired shoes, and a hooded sweatshirt under a fatigue patterned snow coat.
The pair flop into the bench seat and lean into their breath, they lean into each other. Side by side, like melted glass, they fuse together, under the weight of their lean, and, under the weight of their addiction.
The pair ache, and itch, like Sloths. Both of them, floating in their bodies, and both of them, the hero, and the villain, in a war between inside and out.
A glove dangles between her legs. It's held between her fingers, like a cigarette, in the lips of a dead man. I swear I can see space between the glove and her fingers, it seems to literally hover, held only in the layer of heat, between skin, and glove.
The glove inevitably drops, and I watch the pores in her face become “aware” Like the ripple that comes across the glass of an ocean, as it breathes into becoming a wave.
It rolls towards the surface of her skin, from an inside horizon. And it happens in an instant, and at the same time, in slow motion. Her body realizing the space between her digits, she tries to sit up, but only manages to move her eyes. All the ripple she could muster had only made it to her eyelashes...
Her eyelids crawl towards her brow, like a wounded animal crawling into the wilderness, to die. While some unseen performer standing backstage pulls on a heavy chain, trying to open the theatre drapes, so as to reveal the show.
But the chains are too heavy and her lids only open half way. And the show, like the shadow cast over the earth as it rotates, half in darkness, half in light. Her shadow was deep brown, almost black, and glassy, like polished river rocks...
The wave finding the shore less pay than the cost of the effort, sends a message to the conductor to return the curtains to a close. She seems to find the show more colorful, on the inside. Besides, the gloves, will wait. So, her eyelids fall back down, together, again...
After a moment, her body fills with movement, like an infant being repositioned by a mother after sliding into their high chair during breakfast, and falling asleep, before finishing a meal. She pulls herself up by the armpits, and for a moment sits up straight. But her muscles aren't needed for this adventure. She is not an infant eating breakfast, and, there is no need to sit up straight right now, none at all. So, she slowly lets her muscles go, and the slump, is back.
She slumps in parts. The message received, slice, by slice. Each part of her body a layer in a top heavy wedding cake destined for the bottoms of ones shoes. She eventually falls forward, onto her thighs, and this causes her jacket parts to inflate, fast, and with purpose. Like an airbag deployed in a car accident to protect it's passenger from injury...
The smell of brand new Bandaids and blow up living room furniture comes to me, but I don’t know why...
All her weight has pushed the jackets feathers to the seams, and she is balloon like, floating above her legs, as a hot air ballon floats above its basket ropes.
She tries to lean forward, and by try, I mean, she moves less than an inch. And, it takes several minutes to achieve that distance. She can’t move, she's restricted by her duck plucking’s, and the drugs devouring her body...
Wing feathers in a jacket, around a human body, in flight, while bolted to the ground...
The woman’s glove is under her feet. How she knows it’s under her feet is any ones guess. She didn't see it fall, or where it landed, but she felt it leave. Nonetheless, sight unseen, she knows where her glove is.
Her eyes close, as do her fingers, around the handle of a flaccid purse...
"It's most definitely a purse. One would not call this accessory, a "Bag"
And her purse, lays down on the bench beside her, flat, with its belly empty.
She is unable to bend any closer to the floor, or any closer to the glove, not in this position. So, with her eyes closed, she tilts her hand over, toward the front edge of the bench.
The dead weight of her arm meat finding air causes her hand to plummet towards the floor. The stump dragging the purse along with it. Her arm weight was titanic, cold, and heavy. It falls as a slaughtered animal part falls to the butchers block for carving. But her purse hit the floor like a deflated balloon skin, empty, its belly sad, missing the gloves. Without the gloves, the purse was hungry, flat, and without purpose, or reason. It was useless, profoundly useless. The pockets in her duck wings jacket would have served a far better house to store her gloves. But a woman seen without a purse, is seen as a woman, without. Even if it were empty, having the purse itself meant possibility...
Maybe she did have something in there? Perhaps nobody would know it were empty? And, even if it were empty, perhaps one day, she would fill it?
But the purse was empty, it was all performance. Its purpose wasn't to carry gold, or safety pins, or an extra tissue. It wasn't to carry makeup, or keys, or a phone. It's purpose was more that of a stuffed animal, to a sleeping child. Only, a gutted stuffed animal, one without the stuffing.
The purse lay on the floor now, beside the woman's swollen anklefoot. Where her ankle ended and her foot began was indecipherable, they were one. They were just more ice cream parts, melting, over the tops of her filthy, fluffy, shoes. They were either shoes, or dead Pomeranians. Either way, they were egregiously, unkempt.
The Pomeranian was now in between the purse, and, the glove. It would certainly take several more moves to reach the intended destination, and certainly, several more attempts once there at using the purse to even reach the glove. She had a long road ahead of her, but she was indeed, closer. Besides, having made it to the floor had been an accomplishment, and more than enough movement for a little while. There's no need to rush. Heroin, heroin doesn't rush. And Heroin, was calling her back behind her eyes, and she was gracefully accepting. Her fingers, quietly loosen their grip around the purse handle, like a soft exhale. And she floats, bent, folded in two, swimming...
The man that sits beside her is also swimming, but he's not in as deep an ocean, on the contrary, he is much closer to shore, and he is allergic to sand. He is itchy at times, feeling his skin, like a rubber band, wound too tight, attempting to separate the rubber from the band.
He is wound up, because he's coming down. A beached porpoise that needs to make his way back out to sea.
His face, a puppet being tested by a puppeteer, randomly moving in and out of emotions, mostly pain. Then as if the puppeteer had gone to lunch, his body seems empty, and he is left, catatonic.
He leans on his knees with his head towards the pages of a local rag. A four-page “Newspaper” put out by one of many “Churches” in Brooklyn. On the front page, in bold type, it says…
“Free Holy Oil!!!!!”
A Church is holding an event, and if you come and pay the $10 admission, you get a “free” bottle of holy oil….
I try to imagine what kind of minds think about holy oil, and the cost related. I wonder how much is too much, and vice versa.
I try to put faces to these "Holy oil" users, and to those that invest in these religious time share programs. They are many, and they are all faces. Holy oil and religion for one, is simply Starbucks, and Instagram, for another. It's all the same sauce, designed to make life more digestible.
His newspaper was doing the same trick as her glove had, and hovering. It’s pages open and dangling between swollen fingers and his dry cracked thumbs. The newsprint curling over his hands, like he was cradling uncooked pizza dough. And he had thick, warped nails, packed with filth, and they were the color of wet sand.
To anyone and everyone else, at least those that ever dared to look up, she was sleeping, and he was reading.
He has mastered his performance and can disappear, becoming unseen. A man, in the shape of a man, reading. That’s more than enough information for most people. Any extra thought is usually already invested in their own euphoric devotion. People and the world around them, in puddles of ink, in the distance.
His waves are much rougher than hers. There is not as much space between the water’s surface, and the ocean floor for him. And a sea creature allergic to the sand, needs liquid air to survive.
He gets washed up into his skin, his awareness like seaweed, floating in and out, tumbling in the white wash, and stuck on dry land. He looks itchy, and leans into his paper.
A Sloth watching a tennis match. Moving from one page, to the other. Then, back again. He doesn't turn the pages though, because he's not reading, he's realizing his skin, and turns his head instead. The newspaper corners wave at me as he dips in and out.
His body ticks, like the body of a dolphin when it swims, and his hands, were the tail. The newspaper is suddenly served to the floor, like a tray of toppling glasses out of the hands of a clumsy waiter, trying not to get wet.
The page edges sliding against the dirty train car floor were like fingers on a chalkboard, in a distant classroom, in a building, across the street. They were crunchy, and I could hear the paper meeting the dirt, and carving it's way across the floor, screaming.
No sooner had the pages landed, his hands became aware of the space. Feeling the air moving through the cracked skin channels of his thumbs perhaps? A whisper, running through a sun-dried mud bed, searching for print rings. Newspaper print, and the rings of a tree with it's branches, long harvested, and burned as kindle. Searching for the print of a man long gone, to the wind, and to the sea.
The man reaches toward the floor, towards his prop, because without his prop, he will be naked, and seen.
Broken animals hide themselves, like dogs. They hide on the inside, together, preferring to die alone.
He moves towards the paper like a cold honey drip making its way down the side of a plastic bear. His movement, sparks her to move. Their fused glass, sharing vital organs and electricity.
Her eyes peel open again, slowly, she tries, again. Rewinding time and returning to her balloon skin purse, her glove, and the world outside her mind, outside her skin.
I wonder what led up to them discarding themselves? I wonder how they met, where they are going, and where they will sleep tonight? I wonder who they are, underneath the fog. And I wonder when, why, and how they did heroin for the very first time, if there will be a last time, before the end. Or, will the last time, be the end?
I wonder if I'm the only one that sees them dancing, in a womb, underwater, addicted, together, all alone.
Everyone's a junkie.
Everyone is swimming, underwater, addicted, together, alone.