Treads of the Past
Continued from past posts links below
“Excuse me, excuse me..,” he was charging through the crowd, he was literally leaping down stairs, jumping 3 or 4 steps at a time as soon as he heard the subway come to a screeching halt and the sound of the opening doors. Then, a few seconds later he hears…“watch the closing doors please” that recorded announcement always broadcasted. Just in the nick of time Jim had stuck his legs between the doors to force the doors to reopen. His mad dash may have made him break a sweat in spite of the chilly fall weather. He certainly didn’t what to miss this one, if he did, who knows how long he would have to wait on a cold subway platform for the next one.
Jim still breathing hard looked around the subway car and spots a space to park himself and at the other end there was one seat available. His tired body certainly must long to take the load off. As he dumped himself it didn’t take long for him nod off to sleep.
Suddenly, he was woken up by a fat, smelly dud who was trying to squeeze himself between Jim and someone else. His bloodshot eyes finally had opened, Oh my God!! Was it the smell or his size? Jim sprung up on his feet and on top of it all he realized that he had missed his station. He had no choice but to get off at the next one. When they did arrived it had arrived at a very familiar part of town-West 4th St a place that he used to loiters during that very trying times of his earlier New York days.
For what ever had possessed him, he had moseyed out of the station. He was back on those usual routes that he had taken so may times during the summer, but only this time for Jim’s sake, at least I hope would have been in a better state of mind.
There was a certain swagger in his walk and even after so many hours of work he appeared like a young man who was fresh just out on an off day looking to have a good time.
These familiar streets sure should bring back memories, as he turned to bend, it was that swanky joint that he used to stand and look into. As he stood at that same spot that he so often did in the past, his eyes lit up, may be this time he could be on that other side.
A mundane event for many New Yorker’s was a dream for Jim that he was living out. Now he was inside with a tall mug of dark beer in his hand. He had found that spot that he so often fantasized about. It was that narrow strip along the window with high chairs; he was there perched on one of them. He definitely must have relished the moment. Just some time ago his mattress was the park bench with no dough in his pocket and now was sipping on his dark stout as he gazed away into the streets of Manhattan with teary eyes, perhaps he was reliving a not so distant past. He must be recollecting how he picked out of garbage bins to satisfy those salivating smells of pizza pies. He once also searched for soda cans that he filled in large garbage bags that he rolled around the city in a Pathmark shopping cart, which was his only source of income. There were fights that erupted when he was caught dipping into another person’s soda can territory. May be he recalls the moment when he was slippered by an oriental elderly lady for wandering into her space. In many cultures being beaten with a slipper is the greatest insult and Jim bears the mental scars to show for it.
In spite of dark clouds in his past there were also golden effervescence lining it. The friends he made and the brotherhood he felt and shared made those dreary days less cumbersome go by quickly. There are some men and women that may be down on there luck, but still have hearts of gold that they can smile through. Bruce was one of them and Jim still keeps in touch with him. A Vietnam Vet who never could recoup from the effect of war. There are many of our warriors that are wounded and maimed, we send them off with pompoms and hurray’s galore, but when they are back it is a different story. Bruce once said to Jim while wandering these streets that his notion was that when the breath departs from someone, it doesn’t fail to leave its residue on the ones that took it. The horror of death and the fear to face it is treacherous on one’s soul. Their last revenge is to stain the inflictors memories for eternity. Bruce felt that encumbrance, it had latched on to him and no matter how hard he had tried to separate from it, he never could. It was like being in quick sand slowly but surely being devoured by insanity. Innocent souls taken sting the hardest; it is the knowing of it tortures the most. The exterior of a soldier may stand bravely, but on the inside we never know. Guilt is what weighs the heaviest, especially those with a searching conscience. Sometimes being ignorant is better, for they may go through life treading much lighter. In war there are no champs, even the ones that beat the drums of war, in a very odd and strange way they are the most anguished, fearful, bitter and angry and when death knocks on their door their panic to let go could be the greatest. After all they have the blood of so many. Jim seemed to have learnt from other people’s experiences, well, I hope he did.
He was almost done with his mug of beer and hopefully he hasn’t forgotten about work the next morning, his presence was expected bright and early. Just as thing seem to wind down for Jim, suddenly a señorita pops into view, very quickly she trots across his window. It could have been her high-heeled long leather boots with tights that drew his attention.. and.. ya, she was pretty..
Jim’s rubbernecking was stretched to its max, but soon she had vanished out of sight, if you asked me he didn’t have time for this now, he had to get going it was about 11.30 and this late at night the trains are slower, it could take him another hour and a half to get back home, or maybe even more.
Well, well, just as he gets off his high chair and on to his tired feet, whom do you think cantered in? Yes, you may have guessed it, it is that lovely señorita.., wow, could such a petit thing make so much noise with her ritzy high-heeled boots!! Or, may she did it on purpose, well, one-way to get those mojo’s going.