You know how there are some smells that transport you to some ridiculously specific time or place. Today I had a really great one.
I’m not much of a rule breaker, never have been. Fear of messing up makes my stomach hurt. But I do have to admit that 99% of the illegal things I’ve done in my life have been for boys I’ve had crushes on. For one dumb boy I had a crush on in high school more specifically.
It’s illegal to go between NY subway cars when the train is in motion. I actually almost got ticketed for it once a few years ago (summer day, the AC was broken, I followed someone else who also couldn’t breathe).
There are always those stories of places people go to do whatever it is that high schoolers do. Orgies according to their parents, drugs according to their friends, just feeling generally uncomfortable if you ask the kids themselves.
And he took me there. We were going over the Manhattan Bridge at night time, lights twinkling all around us. My friend and his girlfriend passed out the doors of our train car and then when they moved onto the next car it was our turn.
He took my hand and we passed through the doors, we stood with one foot on the platform of the last car and one foot on the platform of the next and hugged and looked out on the water, at the lights, at the bridge and the flags. It was so beautiful. Cacophonous in every way. Loud, bright, disorienting, dangerous, exhilarating. I could feel my heart pounding in every light that strobed it’s way past a beam. I could feel my knees compensating for the swaying cars, towards and away from him.
I rode an Amtrak train today. It’s not illegal to be between the cars on those. In fact you have to go between the cars in order to buy an overpriced turkey sandwich and return to your knitting.
It might not be illegal but it certainly gave me quite a thrill.
It was a real treat to go back to that exhilarating moment while tucked inside such a routine one.
Shocker of all shockers, nothing good ever came of that boy. But that memory and a hundred others are worth it.