By Jessica E. Lapidus © 2004
I was drunk and insane when I stumbled into the stinking, damp, pissed-on subway. Four in the morning. Big mistake. Three teenagers across from me seemed to be enjoying their last free weekend before the start of school. They were laughing and grinning, white lollipop sticks protruding from their swollen lips. One of the girls caught my eye and gave me a face-splitting grin.
“I love your bag,” she squealed. “Isn’t her bag awesome?” The girl next to her squinted in my direction, and then her eyes exploded open like sunflowers.
“Oh my God, it’s SO COOL!” They ran over and sat on either side of me, their fingers touching my purse.
“This is a beautiful shirt!”
“Oh, and your shoes! So pretty!”
My eyes could not keep up with their hands, running over my arms and legs. I would have squirmed away, but I was feeling pretty high, myself. Their touches were butterfly soft on my skin. One look at the shorter of the two, and I knew she was a lesbian. She didn’t know for sure yet, but I did.
Their traveling companion, a boy with light brown peach fuzz around his chin, remained in the seat from where the girls had leapt up, arms folded across his chest, a smirk forming around the lollipop stick in his mouth.
The train screeched into a station, ding-dong doors, an older man wearing a Led Zeppelin t-shirt sat down in the corner of the car and promptly fell asleep. The taller girl was inspecting my new manicure with jaw-dropping fascination, while the shorter Future Lesbian of America had her fingers and nose in my hair, the sound of her sharp inhales only a little less annoying that the smell of her candy cane breath, warming my chin on the exhales.
I trained my eyes on their friend, the boy across from me, his brown eyes glassy, his lips slick.
“Who’s your friend?” I sounded crazy to my own ears. With these adolescent girls hanging off me, I probably looked crazier.
“Oh, that’s just Lawrence.”
“He’s my brother.”
I glanced at the short, dark-haired girl, entranced by my smoke-filled, bar-stench hair, and then back at the boy she called her brother. A chaperone.
Another station, another ding-dong, another passenger, this time some emo chick, horn-rimmed glasses and headphones, doubtless going to my stop at the end of Park Slope.
“Oh My GOD!” the taller girl suddenly perked up, brushing long strands of blonde hair from her eyes, “Carrie, I just thought of something! We should get off this train and go dancing!”
“Ooorrrrrr, Lila.....we could just dance here!”
The girls started dancing on the train as it rocked around underneath Manhattan. They were thrown into the doors, laughing as their hair and arms flew about. Carrie the Little Lesbo grabbed the pole in the middle of the subway car, flung her legs around it, and humped it frantically. Lila the Buxom Blonde giggled and cheered. I glanced at the chaperone, Lawrence, still with a sardonic grin, still sucking on his lollipop.
“Your parents made you do this?” I indicated the screaming, writhing girls. He nodded.
“How old are they?”
He held up ten fingers, then five.
“How old are you?”
He held up ten fingers, then seven.
I could barely remember my own 17, but I know for sure that I was not riding the New York City subways at four o’clock on Sunday mornings.
Lawrence slowly pulled the headless, white stick from his mouth – how long had he been chewing that thing? – and licked his lips. Discretion diverted my eyes to the two girls, laughing maniacally, lamenting their parched mouths.
The squeal of the wheels, the melody of the doors.
“Where are we?”
“Did we miss our stop?”
“Oh my God, Lawrence, are you paying attention?”
“Do you have any water?”
He looked at the girls, unfazed by their ramblings. “We’re not home yet.”
Relieved, Carrie and Lila embraced, and when they pulled away from each other, the short girl “accidentally” brushed her lips against the tall one’s open mouth. A moment of stillness hung between them, their feet braced against the subway floor, arms still around each other’s shoulders. The Led Zeppelin dude was sleeping, the emo girl was staring straight ahead, and the Puerto Rican couple, who had boarded at the last stop, were making out. We were the only other people in the car, and I was the only one paying attention to the events unfolding beautifully before my eyes.
And Lawrence. I glanced at the 17-year old boy, a painfully sweet leer crawling across his lips at the sight of his sister and her pretty friend in a quasi-passionate embrace. I followed his eyes to where the two girls were still standing, oblivious to us and even to the motion of the train, rolling over the tracks into Brooklyn.
“You two should just kiss and get it over with.”
All six eyes shot over to me. What was I saying? The words were like gibberish in my own tinny voice, my head was reeling, I was wasted.
Saved by the bell, the train poured into Carroll Street station, the doors creaked open. Led Zeppelin t-shirt man got off, the Puerto Rican couple were sleeping on each other, and emo girl was still focused strongly on her reflection in the window. The train rolled on, and so did Lawrence, Lila, and Carrie. Lila grabbed the pole in the middle of the car, but kept one hand on Carrie’s shoulder, the latter little lesbian smiling weakly, licking her lips. Lila’s eyes flew over to me.
“Why would you even say something like that, huh? Do I look like some kind of lesbo to you?”
I laughed in her face. If she were a little bigger, the girl probably would have kicked my ass. But she was jacked on ecstasy, and was having a hard time holding a serious gaze. She sat down next to Lawrence, who was watching me very carefully. His eyes burned a gaze of laser beams into my face, my breasts, my long legs sticking out of my short black skirt.
The short, dark-haired Carrie sat down next to me and stared at her shoes. Lila, the titsy blonde girl, in an attempt to confirm her own sexuality, had her arms twisted through Lawrence’s, cozying up to him. He ignored her.
“You’re the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen,” Carrie’s voice broke into the heat wave shooting between me and Lawrence. I glanced down at her.
“I’m too old for you.”
“Why don’t you just kiss and get it over with?” Lila’s voice cut across the aisle. Lawrence’s face exploded in a burst of laughter that made the Puerto Rican couple wake up.
“Next stop, girls,” he chuckled, as the train pulled away from the 4th Avenue-9th Street station. I looked at him and he crossed his arms, smugly fascinated. Lila, too, had her arms crossed under her enormous breasts, twirling the tips of her long, blonde hair through her fingers.
I had no idea what I was doing when I leaned down and placed my lips on Carrie’s. She squeaked and closed her eyes, pressing her mouth to mine, just like she had seen in the movies. Her lips were so warm and wet, memories of Spin the Bottle, Truth or Dare, and Seven Minutes in Heaven came flooding back in a tundra.
This girl was fifteen years old. I pulled away from her and glanced at her seventeen-year old brother. His mouth was as wide as his eyes, and when he stood, I saw that he had an erection that probably could have cut glass.
The train screeched into 7th Avenue station, and Lawrence and Lila stood, the latter looking as though she might puke. Carrie at my side stood slowly, never taking her eyes off me for a moment.
“Come on, Carrie,” Lawrence called, holding the door open. She moved to the door and stepped onto the platform, staring back at me through the window, her lips shiny, her eyes moist.
The train pulled away and I closed my eyes, floating in my intoxication to the next stop, my stop, slowly sobering. The doors opened at Prospect Park, I got off, and as I had surmised, emo girl followed behind me. The lights on the platform were brighter than the rising August sun and the air was so thick.
Jessica E. Lapidus is a writer from Jersey City, NJ.