It’s amazing what a moment of silence can do for the soul. I get so caught up in writing and reading during my commute, that I barely acknowledge the surroundings I’m passing through. Goodbye journal, for now. Cellphone, let’s put you on mute. Time to reorient my compass. Where are we again?
Ahh, Haijima Station. A city on the edge of forever (or Tokyo as I know it). I’m on the western end of the furthest platform; where rails could practically be in the sidewalks of the neighboring houses. This is as west as west gets out here.
From the bench I’m sitting on I can see everything going on across the platforms parallel to my own. Behind me on the bench backing mine, a pair of high school students creating quite the scene. Making jokes, laughing, flirting, and carrying on. As usual, most pretend to not hear what they’re saying; while others give them the “give me some peace and quiet or you’re dead” stare. They don’t seem to mind. For all they know, they’re the only ones here on the platform.
On the platform across from me, more young moments of infatuation. Another pair of students sneaking in a kiss before heading up the steps for the exit. I smiled and zoomed out of the scene. Around me were people heading here and there. A huge timetable above showing times for trains bound to New York, DC, and Lancaster. 30th Street Station.
We weren’t going anywhere, but her and I sure were tempted to hop on any train leaving Philly. I was not looking forward to that Latin test the next day. And neither was she too excited for her biology exam. She took me by the hand and seconds later the din of commuters and vendors had died off. We were in our own space and after she kissed me, I swore no one else was in that station with us. Then,
Mom: Where are you
Mom: What time you coming home
We were no longer alone anymore. The station magically filled with people; people who were there the whole time. As I came back to reality, back to Haijima Station, the laughs of the teenage couple sitting behind spirited me off to another time. Another place. Another girl.
It was Washington Square. We’d meet there on Thursdays, if I recall correctly. We’d sit in that park for hours after school, no matter how cold it was. Hugs, green tea, and a pair of headphones would keep us warm. It felt good to feel “love” at the I-like-you stage. It seemed like nothing was needed beyond sharing the same flavor of music.
‘Oh you like Lupe? Yeah, me too.’
‘How about Tribe? Yeah, they’re dope.’
Yet eventually we all get older. And our character fleshes out into deeper dimensions. The pursuit of companionship is no longer as elementary as having an affinity for the same musical artists. We come to realize that there are certain character traits that we just can’t deal with in significant others. That distance + timing work in ways that could equally delight and frustrate us. And that communication goes beyond being able to talk on the phone ’til sunrise. (I miss that! Ahh, those teen years)
Although it feels at times that things were easier “back then”, Love still hasn’t changed. It’s just as mysterious, exciting, and definitively indefinable. We’re all stepping on each other’s toes; trying to know one another, feel each other out.
Is there chemistry, or are we just being friendly?
Do we feel the same way (for each other)?
Do we Vibe?
My reflection glosses over my glazed and hypnotized eyes as I see copies of myself in the windows passing by. In no time at all, I was taken 7 years into the past, only to arrive back in 2015. Time’s a Smooth Criminal.