Bart car 1866. D/P train. 11:57 p.m.
A young male — do i call him a man, a boy? — asks me what my name is. A casual glance up met his unwavering attention.
I wanted to be left alone. “I don’t know.” I’d chosen a seat across from him. There was no avoiding him.
A minute later, again, “what’s your name?” His hand was in his jeans pocket and he was aware of it. I don’t answer.
“Embarcadero.” The train car was practically empty. No one got on or off. A long pause and the doors close. My new friend is still watching me. He gives me a sly grin and plays with his right eyebrow with the hand that isn’t in his pocket.
He was taking up both seats, laying with his head against the armwrest. Still watching me. I smile, confidently. He takes his hand out of his pants.
He has a companion, sitting on the adjacent seat. They had their backs to eachother, but now his friend turns around to speak. They chat and the one who still doesn’t know my name pretends to pass out. There’s a long pause as the train goes under the bay. Too loud for conversation anyway.
They begin to speak again, this time I notice in Spanish. West Oakland, my stop.
He says bye to me, and something else I don’t understand. I am waiting on the wrong side of the train, fairly drunk as I am. I smile – knowingly – as the train doors open and I walk out.
I choose a bench next to a handsome young professional in a suit and blue collared shirt. He gets up promptly, wanders away. I wish he’d sit next to me. He does.
“Did the Dublin Pleasanton train just come?”
“Oh. I was just on it.”
He’s looking at me, and I can’t avoid his brown eyes. I notice the texture of his shirt…speckled with a lighter blue. The suit, too, was in good taste. I wonder if I was meant to take the DP train and transfer. I decide that I was, and to fall in love.
“I must have fallen asleep.” He was annoyed. He would, after all, have a sixteen minute wait at this point. He asks me where I’ve been. A show, I answer. What show? oooh. I don’t remember, right now, I’m too in love. But I didn’t say that, of course. He had been out with friends, no details.
Now in love, I see his eyes are filled with meaning. Also meaningful is the way he’s leaning his head back so that I see him at an angle. He looks good at this angle. I decide I like his light brown hair, too, cut short above his temples.
It must be love. I trust him enough to get his opinion on my most recent inquisition. “Do you think the train operators choose on which side the doors open, or is it automatic? Since it depends on which station you’re at. Is that up to the operators?”
He doesn’t need to think about it. “It’s automatic.” Pause. “‘Cause they never make a mistake.”
I recognize that as some decent rationale and am satiated, if not altogether impressed. I want to kiss him. I love him. He lives at Lake Merrit. I think about coming home with him. Picking up a guy at a BART station. I resolve to tell my roommates that we had sex. On the BART train.
He’s still annoyed with missing his train. I feel sorry for him, my new love. I decide that he wants to kiss me too. I guess that’s why I thought my roommates might believe that I had sex on a BART train. The sign lights up as my train approaches the platform. I look at him, try to make my lips just that perfect amount of pouty. “Enjoy your wait,” I say. “It’s only twelve minutes.”
I board car 448 to Pittsburg/Bay Point, turning around to bid my own true love goodbye. I wonder if maybe he’ll post a missed connection on CraigsList when he realizes just what he lost. I choose a seat in the middle section. There is a man standing in that space BETWEEN the cars. I’ve never seen this before. Just standing there, holding onto I don’t know what. This car is noticeably busier than the last one… I can’t help but hear a conversation behind me.
A man is speaking, “…the political aspects of the song are lost, but still relevant today given the Iraq war.”
He and his compatriot begin to sing. “I’m slightly behind the times…” The man asks the Bart train, myself included, for help with the words of the song. I can’t help, I’ve never heard it before. His companion tires of the song, wants to talk. “Roger was a genius. If his brother left, Roger would have been nothing.”
“What happened to Roger. He go to jail?”
The man wants to sing again, and begins humming. “Gotta sing it in key.”
“I remember…” His friend joins in. “When we used to play…” Now embarassed, now singing, they take turns where each knows the lyrics. The man sitting in front of me looks back, his face distorted in annoyance and disgust. He rubs his head, and I imgaine that it hurts. I realize that we are still sitting at 12th street.
The duo starts a new one. “Didn’t I blow your mind this time, didn’t I?”