I learned something new about myself today. It was down amongst the clack-clackity-clack of the subway cars. I was sifting through the trash, looking for a half-eaten hotdog I had seen a man throw in there earlier when I heard the announcement.
"Grand Avenue Newtown. Next stop Woodhaven Boulevard."
I looked up. Watched as the masses pushed their ways onto the train. They were coming or going. I told myself they were slaves to their wages, chained to their desks. But here I was digging through a trash can, chained to it so to speak.
No, that's not what I learned. I've known that. I found the hotdog, the yellow mustard staining the bun. I hated mustard, it gave me heartburn. But an empty stomach hurt worse. I shoved the food into my mouth in three bites. I was still chewing the third when it happened. The subway doors closed and I heard a scream.
"NO! No, please," she cried out. It took me a minute to find her. Them. I watched in slow motion, listening to the drip drip of the water. It was raining outside. Oh, yeah. Them. A red head, short, mid twenties. In my younger, cleaner days, I might have approached her, was trying to pull away from him. I had seen him before, dressed in blue jeans and a black hoodie.He held her blouse with his left hand, the switchblade in his right.
I learned something about myself today.
I am a coward.