Thursday, April 06, 2006

Ode to the Women with Blue Eyebrows who I saw on the Subway

(well, it would be an ode, except that I'm not really in the mood to write poetry)

I sat in the flaking shelter, bored, scanning faces for a narrative. Nothing- business men in long black trenchcoats, blond children spitting on the windows, women in jeans and cell phones- smooth in their averageness. I'm sure they all have stories, but any that I try to latch onto them slide off, humdrum or cliche in their attempts to avoid the humdrum. A fleet of identical-faced spectres.

And then there is you. You have hair down to your waist, oddly flaxen in color and texture, unkempt and unbeautiful. It looks like a Purim wig, and then I think that the comparison is unkind. You wear black cowboy boots, black leggings, and an off-white suede jacket with buckskin fringes. Are you trying for a co-ordinated style? But then why the light blue bandana headband tangled in your hair?

I think that you are almost too theatrical to be true, and that is even before I see your face- over fifty, sour-looking, and so heavily made-up that you seem to wear a mask of foundation. Your eyebrows are entirely gone, and blue make-up eyebrows have replaced them, drawn in a Cruella Deville shape above your overly made-up eyes. You do not look at anyone. You take out an I-Pod and begin to listen to it, swaying a bit to its music.

Your fingernails are at least an inch long, French manicured and almost talon-like. I wonder if they are real or fake, and how uncomfortable they must be. Later, I see that your thumbs are normal, short and unpainted. A concession to practicality or another fashion choice? Your nails hold the I-POD gingerly.

I try not to stare as you sit beside me on the bench, or as you walk with me onto the train. You have a purse and rolling suitcase, and automatic courtesy almost moves me to offer to help you with one of them. But you seem to manage both fine. You, like I, get off at the last stop, but I lose track of you as I go out to the busses.

I never did make up a narrative for you. You didn't seem to need one. You were just there, anamolous, unreal, unabashed. Not a metaphor or a symbol, although you could be both. Simply yourself, unexplained, woman with the blue eyebrows riding on the subway.

1 comment:

Miri said...

I like that. description doesn't always need a narrative. it's a good picture.