Praestigiare

Iteration III

Last Time

July 3, 2007

The last time I died I was in Boston. I was at downtown crossing, waiting for the red line train to take me into Cambridge. It was a Friday evening, and the platform was packed, mostly people in their twenties heading out for the night. I had headphones on because I always have headphones on when I ride the T. It’s part of the ritual of Boston: Airport early in the morning, coffee from Dunkin Donuts while I am too sleepy from the flight to taste it, Johnny Cash on the T. It’s the way things are supposed to be. In the evenings it might be Simon and Garfunkel, but there has to be music to go with the screech and sway of the trains.

I had been standing on the platform for some time, maybe ten minutes, feeling like a stone in the stream of activity around me, when suddenly I was afraid. It was an instinctual fear, primitive, almost purely physical. I could feel it coming faster than the lights of the red line train that had appeared in the tunnel.

There was nothing to do but stand there, watch the people mill around me getting ready to push their way onto the train, and wait. I wondered which face would be the last one I saw. The fear boiled in my stomach, but I was protected in the music and the screech of the train, in the isolation I had built around myself.

The screeching came to a stop, and the doors swished open. I took a place standing by the door, hoping to see the view from Longfellow Bridge once more.

This time it comes more slowly, but I don’t think I’ll make it to the bridge again.