big city life
But there are days when even the sidewalk glares back at you. Days when walking, breathing, even eating is an effort.
On the subway I sat across from a woman whose cheeks wore heavy acne scars. She rocked her baby back and forth. The child's head was wrapped in two bonnets: one isn't enough for Toronto's cold winds. His skin glowed under the subway lights, and his lips glistened, plump and open. He didn't smile, he just looked around, while she continued to rock him back and forth. When she got up she had the body of a 19-year-old. She was probably older, probably never went to the gym, but probably ran around enough in her studded jeans trying to balance her life that she kept fit either way.
Across from me was a young man in a hat, cradling a dog in his lap. When a young artist of a woman got on he looked once, looked twice, and then looked back to his dog.
Watching him, I felt envious that he had someone to hold.
A young black man sat further on, falling asleep into his seat. When the subway approached his stop he woke up. I stared. I liked his face. He looked back. He removed his hat for a second to reveal tight knit braids along his head, his face suddenly more handsome, his one diamond stud shining in the distance. He rubbed his head, put his hat back on, and stepped out at his stop with a bag of laundry.
An older man got on and sat across from me. My headphones played a sad song and tears rolled up in my eyes.
Why is it so hard to be happy?
I want to be happy. I want to strong. But I'm so weak that I cry on the subway.
And so I sat, my body wrapped up in pain, heart beating heavily, tears in my eyes, until the song ended.
I switched to a more upbeat song, gathered my strength, and got off at my stop.
If I'm going to make it, I have to keep going, whether the strength is there or not. Because if I stop, if only for a second, and doubt everything that is, I'm not going anywhere.