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Tell a story, eh... where to begin?
When I was a young man I was very shy. I didn’t really make friends in high school, but I knew my neighbors in my building well, and most the people at the shops I’d go to frequently. I couldn’t tell you my class president, but I knew that Kenny was a better butcher than Lenny. I graduated high school without kissing a girl.
Junior year I got a job at a pet shop on Westchester Avenue near Prospect, and I took the subway everday I went to work. There was a Jewish deli near there, and … I’m not sure where I got this idea, but I figured out that if I got a Russian newspaper, no one would talk to me on the subway. So every day I’d spend a nickle to get a Russian newspaper, and no one would talk to me on the subway. I mean, for one, I was reading a newspaper, so most people wouldn’t bother you anyway. But in Russian, they might not think you speak English. So no body bothered me.
I loved working at the pet store. It was a very happy place, really. There were times when things didn’t go well, like when you just had too many baby bunnies, or lizards, or canaries. We weren’t veterinarians, you know. But enough about that.
The best part of the job was the look on someones face when they find their perfect pet. The one they’ve been looking for. Better yet, the one they didn’t know they wanted. They came looking for a noble Great Dane, but fell in love with an ever-grinning French Bulldog. Or perhaps when Polly said: “I love you!” they thought he really meant it. But that great, bright-eyed, surprised both inside and out look... nothing made me feel better.
One day I noticed a girl about my age in the same subway car as me. I sat a few seats away, and noticed that she, too, was reading a newspaper. New York Times. Made her look smart. A young woman with a wide mind.
I don’t know if I noticed it right away, or figured it out after the fact, that she always was in the second car from the end. But at some point I made that connection, and started to make sure I was there, too. She never sat in the same exact seat each time. Whether there were seventeen or so people in the car or just her, never in the same spot. But I decided to figure out a way to get close to her. I would mirror her position. Until, if she noticed and cared, she would sit in the middle, and I would sit facing her.
One day, she did.
The first words out of her mouth were “Ehtsuse we, to an knov vhat Tim ur research?”
And I stoppped... and said “I’m sorry, I don’t speak Russian.”
And she said “That’s all the Russian I know... I didn’t know how else to say ‘hi.’”
We were quiet for a second, then she asked “Why do you pretend to read Russian newspapers?”
“So people will leave me alone.” I said.
She looked so sad after I said that.
“Well, not you. I just don’t know how else to say “hi” either.”
And then... she looked at me the way I’ve seen so many people look at puppies, and kittens and whatever pets they loved. No one had ever looked at me like that before.
And that’s how I met your Grandma.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 17th, 2011 01:09 pm (UTC)
I like it.
Aug. 21st, 2011 04:39 am (UTC)
You're brilliant.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )


I am the Poison

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