i am balancing my book, bag and coffee in my lap while munching a bialy with the other hand when the #2 train stops. people go out, people come in.

‘hello’ a bright girly voice with an exotic lilt says.

‘..’lo’, a deeper hesitant manly one answers. possibly smiles have been exchanged because the manly voice becomes more corageous.

‘what, ee your name?’ he asks


‘oo, thank you very much’

‘what is your name?’


‘yeah right. you’re no Mike’


‘where you come from, mike?’

‘i, i … europe. further from ocean. …eee, you?’

‘oh i am from West Indies. you know?’

‘yes. India?

‘close enough. you always talk to girls on the subway, Mike?’

‘you is very pretty. pretty like…eee, like apple.’

i finally gave in to my curiosity and broke rule #1. never look at the others on the subway. i looked as much as i dared. my vision could only catch her strong chocolate calves and his manly black shoes covered by gray pants ironed to death most likely by the dedicated wife that morning. they were flirting on the dirty subway floor. i was not sure why.

‘where are you going?’

‘i go to…work.’

‘where is work?’

‘manhattan. …i live manhattan too’

‘oh  that is niicee. what language do you speak’

‘german, dojch, i speak german’

 the “german sprecher” had an Albanian highland accent, three inches thick. but the West Indian girl acted duly impressed.

they continued their surreal conversation until the train stopped and they got out. i finally got a chance to see the owner of the love struck voice, a tall man in his fifties with a careful combover and a hooked nose. he climbed the stairs one by one, like it was almost too painful to move properly. the  girl climbed aside him, also carefully swaying her hips to his tempo. for whatever reason, i thought that they had already become lovers in the time it took for the train to go through 8 stations. then i thought that i should start adding milk to the coffee. better gaseous than delusional.


9 thoughts on “Encounter

  1. I picked up a Dominican honey once at the Canal Street Q-W-N-R station. But I told her straight up I was ‘banian, and she loved every minute of it… 😉

  2. This piece reminded me of that song: “Love is in the air”. This is such a “it only happens in NYC” story. I say this because while reading, I tried to change the location of it all. And I couldn’t help but imagine a similar encounter in an Albanian bus doing the Tiranë-Laprakë line on a hot Monday, say about 1 o’clock. The discussion would’ve been totally different. Mostly concentrated around the smell, I suppose. Or pickpockets, maybe.

    We really need some love around here.

    Nice piece, as usual, blete! And by the way, it’s nice to have you back (blogging, that is)!

    Të përshëndes!

  3. Strangeman, it has already been done by Emigrant.
    Just read “Kishte edhe nga ata që nuk hipnin për qytezat socialiste, por thjesht se kishin rast të rrinin ngjitur me ato, gocat e paarritshme dhe të pakuptueshme të autobuzit, megjithë neverinë e këtyre të fundit ndaj duhmave të tyre perverse. Duhma perverse, ngaqë në një drejtim, atë nga M, N, P në Tiranë, ose anasjelltas, siç thoshin vetë, “e bojshin gjymsën e qejfit”. Prekja e gocave tiranse ishte rrethi i shtatë i delirit, perversët do pranonin të shtypeshin edhe nga rulat që shtronin rrugët, te beheshin zift fare (se baltë nuk i linte Naim Frashëri të bëheshin me atë “baltë e pluhur do të bënem, të më shkelnjë këmbë e saj” që e shkroi posaçërisht kundër perversëve të autobusëve Shkodra), pra të bëheshin edhe më zi se ç’ishin, vetëm për atë prekjen e këmbëve dhe vitheve me ato tjetërkund të paarritshmet; nëqoftëse prekja rastiste gjokset e tyre, atëhere deliri ishte total, saqë edhe vdekja s’do ti trembte më.” http://www.peshkupauje.com/maxhnun/2007/03/10/

  4. emigrant, i was talking about the accent. 😉
    belle, you have to hang out in the subway more often. and eawesdrop.
    its, we are not talking about a barely contained hormonal hotpot such as yourself here. He was tall, lanky, hooked nose, lost most of his upper foliage, and sporting the characteristic Albo head. maybe that was what did the West Indian in. but strange man is right, we need more love around here.
    eni, lule i wish i could have tapped it. e papame.

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