Praestigiare

Iteration III

Forest Hills

August 1, 2007

Harold stood at the far end of the platform of the last station on the Orange line, letting the snow collect on the shoulders of his jacket. He was sure that if she could see him there, gathering snowflakes, gazing down the tracks, she would love him. It was a pose, really; it was a picture he was making for her. He wasn’t even the most important part of it. Take away the snow and the mood was all wrong. Take away the green jacket, the jacket he was wearing the first time he put his arms around her, and he would just be another commuter getting cold and wet waiting for the train. Take away the train station and they might never have met. Take away Harold, and she would still look down the platform when the train doors hissed open and smile. It made him happy to know she would smile.

There were two other people on the platform. Both in dark winter clothes, staying sensibly at the other end where there was shelter from the snow and the wind. They hadn’t looked up from their morning stares since they arrived. Harold shifted his weight and smelled her perfume on his shirt. It drifted up from under his jacket in little bursts of warmth and sweetness when he moved. They had fallen asleep in the big chair in her apartment, and he woke up to find her arms wrapped around him. He hadn’t wanted to change clothes after that. He knew he would never again be as important as he was in the few hours she slept against him.

Down the tracks he could see the bright headlight of the orange line train. He wanted to wait until the doors opened. To see her look down the platform. But he knew she would smile. He could see it perfectly: her dark hair peeking out under the red knit hat; the long black scarf that was twice as long as she was tall, wrapped around her neck so that she seemed to peek out over it.

Harold smiled. It wasn’t so bad after all. He shook the snow from his shoulders and stepped backwards off the platform.