EMWed 2007

This is the semi-secret behind the scenes blog for the Eric Whitmore and Mikaela Renz wedding in Albuquerque, September 29th.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Story Gift from Mystery Train

Sept. 21, 2007

I’ve been on all of them that let you. The blue ACE, the grey L, the green 456, and the greenish G, which connects different boros. And the others. I’ve seen the ones for repair, for construction, for money, and for garbage. Earlier in the spring, too, when they resurrected old ones to run some of the regular lines, with rotted leather handles and wooden window frames, precarious door locks and clear warnings to prevent leaning here or there. I read all the old graffiti and collected all the fliers. I rode from end to end, dangling from the crusted straps, standing up front with the opened, folding window, and sitting in the rusted train’s deep olive green and aquamarine, patterned, and thinly spaced chairs for thinner passengers. I never used to like public transportation. Now, how special a private car on a public train can be, as much and as different as a uniquely abhorrent or fully populated one.

Yesterday at that small nexus under Atlantic Avenue where almost a dozen of them meet, I noticed a beautiful young woman in unseasonable garments—a bodice and light blue gown with silvery jeweled buttons—and an envelope with a torn wax seal, an invitation perhaps, pinched in her soft white hand. She was definitely anxious. She ambled back and forth across the south wall, killing time with advertisements, but skipping the only two trains serving that track. I, of course, was becoming a bit of a villain, calmly obsessed with her beauty and her nervousness. I had nowhere to go just then, so it was no problem to wait, looking absent-minded leaning against the column.

She noticed me though, and I sensed some annoyance, so I made my way out of her periphery, faking an exit by train, stepping in then out the next door, to behind the column, quiet and narrow like the time I hid and spied that other event, which makes me sick when I think of it. I felt the sickness now, but I’ve learned the beauty of it, no different from growing accustomed to some foreign taste or texture, which can quickly become one’s secret desire days or weeks after being one’s plain disgust. And so my surveillance now incompletely satisfied a desire that did not exist before that first sickness.

She dusted the right edge of a movie poster and dragged the back of her right index finger on its outer edge. She found, I guess, an irregularity with her fingernail, turned her hand, and clawed at the frame. Totally puzzling to me, I was uncertain of her sanity when suddenly the whole poster and frame opened forth like a sidehatch to an attic. And like those wooden stairs you’d expect to descend from the ceiling, an arm of metal and wood extended from behind the hatch, revealing a cobwebbed, irregular panel of dials, lights, buttons, and switches.

With the minorest frown, she made an adjustment and tugged lightly at a choke, turned a dial and pressed a button. She rubbed the lights along the top edge to reveal their colors, and there were two blinking lights, two shades of red. She toggled something between them, turning off one and turning solid, the other.

Just then another train could be heard on approach, and she swiftly packed the movie poster compartment with its controls. When the hatch shut, a puff of dust squeezed out the sides, and she sneezed and smiled.

That train had no passengers and was marked with a dark red disc. She stepped aboard, settled on a seat, and when the doors beeped before shutting, I joined her.


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