“Wake up,” he said. “Hey buddy,” he kept shaking me. “End of the the line…”
I grunted, “Fuck…”
“Shit happens,” he chuckled, “You alright?” He was holding his hand out, to help me get up I guess. “Are you drunk? Where do you need to go?”
I remember grunting again repeatedly, “Fuck…Fuck…” and I may have sighed, “Where am I?”
“Downsview, end of the line,” he said.
Sitting up and staring down the deserted subway car, I began searching in my coat pocket for my smokes, took one out and placed it between my lips.
“Hey buddy, you can’t smoke in here.”
“I know. Don’t yell,” I whispered.
“How much have you had to drink?”
“Not much,” I said, getting up.
“Where were you going?”
“Where…” I whispered as I stood, while the cigarette fell from my lips; temptation from heaven vanished…good god, I must’ve been drunk! Drunk enough that I didn’t even notice him bending down and picking up my cigarette… He was laughing though, I remember that. Must’ve been a pleasant laugh, because I smiled awkwardly in my state, as sincerely as I could, while attempting to avoid eye contact, and stumbled my way slowly towards the opened doors of the subway car. Before I knew it, he was holding my right arm and helping me along my drunken way.
“Sit down for a bit,” he said. “I’ll get you some water.”
There I was on the subway platform, my head hanging like the cigarette in between my fingers, with what seemed to be surrender in my muscles and bones, and reverberating in my gut was the echo of an alcoholic’s cry for mercy, or so it seemed. My loneliness, it may have been, but I felt as if winter was waiting for me outside the station. It wasn’t winter yet, but who knew? Years could’ve passed. People may have died. He came back with a bottle of water. I emptied it in a couple of sips, let out an unpleasant burp that easily could’ve become a puddle of vomit on the platform. I gave him back the empty bottle. “You gonna be ok?” he said.
“Ok,” I whispered as I got up and began walking to the stairs.
“Hey buddy,” he called out, “Take care, pretty cold out tonight…”
I didn’t respond, only continued walking, but I remember turning back slightly and giving him a drunken wave or what must’ve seemed like the raising of a lifeless hand, with gratitude in between my cold and crooked fingers.
There is always a vast expanse of forgotten thoughts. That night, humanity poked its head out in a bottle of water. There was a galaxy of forgotten turns, and I could taste still the bitterness of insults on my tongue, but I couldn’t remember them. Humanity poked its head out. Humanity chuckled…That was the only time I visited Downsview station, I think…