Subway Sketch I: Scars


“The one time I said I was innocent, I was,” she said.

Uptown 1 train. A large, auburn-haired woman with hoop earrings and light blue jeans stands near the door in flip-flops. Her skin, the hue of over-steamed carrots, is tanned to an unnatural degree, and her arms, as thick as my legs, show strange circular scars. Beside her is a man wearing a backwards, black Adidas cap with attentive, clear eyes.

86th Street stop. Passengers crowd into the trolley. The woman and man’s words are muffled and lost. They point out their scars to each other like proud battle wounds.

“Sometimes they cut the shit with a cancer drug…You can get agranulocytosis without even knowing,” the man says matter-of-factly.

The woman mentions the OCO rehab center. The train brakes for 96th Street.

“Remember when we used to smoke in the van?” the man says, his voice fading with him as he steps out onto the platform.