Description: Lesbian leaves the house, makes gay eye contact. Lesbian writes about it.
The M train, Tuesday morning:
I was heading to work at 10:30 am, and the train was mostly empty. Somebody boarded the train a few stops before I was supposed to get off. At first I didn’t look at her because I assumed she was straight, but then she sat down right next to me and when I looked up from my book at her to see what her problem was, she gave me this huge smile.
She was not a straight girl at all! She was a surprise lesbian! What a great surprise, I love surprises.
Happiness expanded inside of me like a balloon. I smiled back and opened my mouth to say something really casual, but what came out was “EXCUSE ME I HAVE TO GO.” Once I had committed myself to going I couldn’t back out. So I got off at the next stop.
It was the wrong stop. I had to wait for the next train. I did not care. I was still grinning when I got to work, ten minutes late.
The L train, Monday night:
I had just lost my job. The train was packed and I was wedged between somebody’s backpack and somebody’s arm, feeling awful. I was planning a good hard shower cry for when I got home, and I was thinking about how I would lock the bathroom door and turn up the water as hot as I could stand and just wail until I felt empty inside. Shower crying is good for your soul.
My scalp was already prickling and I was trying to reason with the flood of tears that were coming, saying, “Self, I don’t care how sad you are, you are an adult and you do not cry in public.” That worked for a while. Then I started saying, “But I worked so hard for them, they never appreciated me, I didn’t deserve that.” I let one little tear sneak out and it was like a dam breaking. I was crying so hard. I didn’t try to hunch over my phone and pretend like I was playing Candy Crush, I just stood there and ugly-cried silently.
A woman slightly down the aisle from me, wearing a button up shirt and tie, was seeking eye contact. She hadn’t noticed I was crying yet.
I was absolutely at war with myself. I never waste an opportunity to exchange The Look. But, I am really not a pretty cryer. It was not a good time for that.
My sense of sisterhood finally won out over my pride, so I turned to face her, red blotchy skin and streaming tears and snot and everything, and I managed a weak smile.
The expression on her face deflated. She looked at me like, “OH,” and we ignored each other for the rest of the trip.
The A Train, Saturday morning:
My wife and I had just moved into a new apartment with one bedroom and a bank of windows that faced a parking lot.
I thought house plants would cheer the place up, but we were too broke to buy them, so we found some guy on Craigslist who had just gotten a bunch of plants as a gift and was absolutely sure he would kill them all if somebody didn’t come to collect them. We figured, anyone with that a strong a conscience against over-watering a fern was probably safe, so we went to his house to collect them.
It was long train ride to his place, and then a long walk from the train station to his apartment. There were a lot of plants and he was very concerned about all of them, so we took all of them, and then he was concerned about his roommate’s plants, so we took those too. I had to wonder what kind of friend thought it would be a good idea to give this guy a bunch of plants as a gift because clearly that friend did not know him well at all.
By the time we were getting back on the A train, we really had a lot of plants. We had to find a way to keep them from falling over and rolling away. I straddled a top-heavy palm looking thing and cradled a box of vine looking things under one arm so I had a hand free to hold the pole, and then I noticed that someone on the car was noticing me, not in a “you are straddling a palm looking thing in public” kind of way but in a “oh hello are you one of my people?” kind of way.
She was wearing athletic shorts and a red cap. When she saw me see her, she looked away and pretended like she wasn’t looking, like they do sometimes, which I think is annoying, even though I do it too.
But right before she got off the train, she turned around, gave me the Head Nod, and walked out of my life forever. Six months later, I still have the palm looking thing.