He said he was waiting for a break and she told him he was waiting in the wrong spot, and he said he knew it because he’d been waiting a long time but didn’t know where else to wait. She tried to comfort him, cupped his head with one hand, tried to run her fingers through his hair but the stuff didn’t budge, he’d jammed it all up with volumizers and stiffeners and other budge-breaking products.
Only the day before she, Dread, had the child, Dawn, hanging from those same fingers by her hair over the side of the paddle-boat - bait for an unconventional proposition, a real life-or-death bargain – in the lake in the park in the town of Loss.
“Momma,” Dawn cried, two toe-deep in the grey still water.
“Momma,” she whimpered, spilling tears, concentric circles, small desperate spins of warm air touched with juniper, winding sheets.
“You better do it! You better! I’ll make you!” Dread threatened pond-side, to the smudge against the clouds, the blinking puddle that didn’t even have the guts to whimper back. For one moment he clutched up to his own hair, a small gesture, more of an erasure, a dimming signal into the grey air that failed between them.
This, while the man with the inky rug stood blocking the entrance to the subway car with his sparkling new kicks, threatened a young woman drenched in sweat and sorrow as she tried to pass with a baby on her back and another in the stroller…
while the Boss took his stretch from counting what he made on a lie and planned how to spend it with his mistress who had given her love to a spineless man who loved his wife but couldn’t argue anymore, couldn’t argue anymore, not anymore, while Dawn hung top-down, one last minute, from that long golden hair.
The woman stood on the platform and watched the angry man shouting from behind the window of the moving train, the crease in his new kicks mimicking the crease of hatred in his face, the sorrow and loss she felt – a stranger herself to this all, alone, no one to hate, no one to hassle, no one to lie to, no one hurt; just the little one on her back, and the little one in the stroller. She pushed up the soft nest of hair upon her head and she waited there, waited and waited and waited.