My Subway AngelbyMalice2©
If you ask me now what I was doing there, I couldn’t tell you. I don’t remember much about that day; where I was going, who I needed to see, even which direction I was headed. The only thing that stuck out was a chance sighting on the subway of the most beautiful man I had ever laid eyes on.
He was like a vision from a dream. Tall and slim with delicate, tanned and seemingly hairless flesh that peeked out of the top of a silken button-down shirt. He had a statuesque, flawless face with deep-set eyes framed perfectly in dark lashes, a strong nose and thick, plump lips. I watched breathlessly every time he parted them slightly to allow his tongue a brief moment to moisten them. He had this wealth of luxurious dark hair that cascaded past his sharp cheekbones and halfway down his back, carelessly draping somewhat over his slender shoulders. He never even glanced in my direction, in fact his gaze, seemingly lost in a sort of daydream, never waved from the window. As much as I feared he would turn and see me, I couldn’t bear to tear my eyes off of him.
I remember thinking to myself that he must be a model or an actor or something. Someone that gorgeous couldn’t possibly have a regular, normal pigeon job, those were meant for the plain, average shmoes like me. The music that had been blaring through my headphones now sounded like low, muffled noise from how distracted I was by him. If other people noticed me staring, I wasn’t aware of it, the only thing on my mind was whether it would be a wise idea to approach this seemingly flawless individual. It didn’t take me long to conclude that it would be a very bad idea, seeing as how my nervous and shy nature would make a fool out of me in front of him.
Now, I’ve been shot down by both men and women all my life, for all sorts of reasons. I’ve never been popular, I’m not all that bright, talented or tough, nor am I anything special to look at. In fact, there has never really been anything special about me. (Sometimes I think I’m funny but then nobody laughs and the notion quickly passes.) What could a guy like me ever have to offer an angel like that? That’s why, as painful as it was, I let him go. I remember literally having to force myself to get up and walk off the train, and it was more intense than anything I experienced while making myself get up for work or school. I stood there waiting for the doors to open, still staring at him, drinking the sight of him in as much as possible before I had to go. Even then, he never turned to face me. As the train pulled away from the station, I followed him with my eyes as far as I could, regret stinging in my chest.
It’s been several months since I first saw him, but his memory is so vivid, it’s like I only saw him last week. Every time I ride the Q train, I look for a sign of him. But this city is so huge, and the chances of seeing him again are near impossible. I don’t even know if he lives here, or if he was just a tourist. Every time I look back on that moment, that familiar pang of regret comes back in full force. “Shoulda, woulda, coulda,” I tell myself. “It doesn’t make any difference because even if by some miracle of destiny you see him again, he’s way out of your league. You’re just a poor boy from Brooklyn and you could never have anything he’d want or need.” And as depressing as it is, I’m right.
“Yo, Doug!” My roommate, Raphael hollers at me through the bedroom door, slamming on it loudly. I hadn’t even heard him come in. “Get your shoes on, man. C’mon, I need the place for a little while.” I hear a faint female giggle in the background, and my eyes roll skywards.
“Alright, alright, sheesh, dude, hold your hormones!” I put away my sketchbook, gather my things and open the door, eyeing the well-stacked black woman he was planning to spend the evening with. She looks me up and down and gives me a vacant smile in return, and Raphael wastes little time in shoving me along.
“I’ll see ya’ in the mornin’, a’ight?” He looks down at me, smiling broadly, as if gloating that he’ll be getting pussy and I’ll be sleeping on a park bench somewhere. The moment the bedroom is free, he takes her inside and they close and lock the door. I shake my head to myself and sigh, getting my coat, bag and Walkman, locking up the apartment as I leave. I reach into my pocket and find I have just enough to buy a few burgers and a subway token. For now, at least, the token will suffice for a warm place to sit and relax.
Once on the subway, I just zig-zag around from train to train aimlessly, intentionally trying to get myself lost. Maybe something interesting will happen and I’ll either get mugged, gang raped or witness a bum kill and eat a rat or something. Somehow, I end up at the Broadway-Lafayette station and realize I’m all alone. The place is like a maze; it’s cavernous, poorly lit and cold, and to make matters worse, there’s this faint sound of dripping water far off in the distance. The pillars make perfect hiding places for sick, twisted predators and considering the fact that I’m 5’5”, maybe a hundred and sixty pounds in the pouring rain, I wasn’t scaring anybody off. I decide to transfer. I walk under a series of lights that had gone out completely, making this portion of the platform almost completely cloaked in shadow. Out of the corner of my eye, I see a dark form sitting on the floor against one of the pillars. He reaches his hand up to me and I tear the earphones off my head.
“Hey…please…” A soft, gentle male voice pleads with me weakly.
“Oh my gods!” I rush to kneel down to him, and his long, slender fingers curl around the fabric of my zip-up hooded sweatshirt. I push back the tousled long hair from his face, the smell of blood hitting me right between the eyes. He starts tugging against me, like he wants me to help him up, so I do. He isn’t as heavy as I thought he’d be, in fact, he seems a bit thinner in frame than I am, though a bit taller. His long coat made it hard to make out much on him.
“I…they took my…” His voice cracks from stress, and he leans against me heavily.
“Shh, c’mon, lets walk a little, you’ll be okay.” I put on my most soothing, calming voice to try and steady him emotionally. It was obvious what happened here, now I need to get him into the light so I can see how badly they hurt him.
“I…. don’t know what they hit me with…” He mutters, holding his head with his free hand, using me as his crutch. We get into the light and his head is dipped down, his long, blood-soaked raven hair obscuring his face. I lean him up against another pillar and support his shoulder, nudging his face up by the chin.
“Everything’s gonna be fine, I just need to see how bad that wound is, okay?” He nods slowly and lets me tilt his head back up. Even through the blood and dirt marring his face, I knew at first glance who it was: my angel. “Out of all the bars and gin joints in the world…” I mumble to myself with a wide-eyed smirk, shaking my head from side to side ever so slightly.
“What?” His dark eyes squint and lock onto mine. His was a pure, dramatic brown, as opposed to my olive green ones.
“Nothing. It looks like a flesh wound.” I smile fully, sliding his hair back so I can get a clearer view of that beautiful, yet no longer perfect face; and in a way, that made him even more beautiful. “But I should take you to a hospital anyway. Just in case, ‘cause, I’m not a doctor.” I might appear calm, but inside, I’m dancing. Not only am I face to face with my angel again, but we’re actually talking, and I’m getting a chance to help him, and that makes my heart sing in a way I can’t possibly describe. “I’m Doug.” I step away from him a bit, and he grabs both my shoulders for support.
“Ricky.” He groans, his knees buckling slightly. Ricky. I repeat that name in my head over and over, straining my willpower not to start leaping for joy right then and there. My angel’s name is Ricky.
I help him up the stairs slowly, gripping his weakened, wobbly body close to mine. Beyond the smell of blood and subway tile, he had a thick, rich musk to him that made my groin stir. He proceeds to thank me profusely every other step of the way, until we reach the token booth. I quickly ask the man behind it to call an ambulance for us.
“No wait…” The slim, delicate fingers of his free hand curl loosely around the front of my sweater in protest. “You don’t have to come with me, I mean…don’t you have somewhere to go?”
I chuckle and wrap my hand around his affectionately. “No, not really. My roommate needed the apartment and this is better than sleeping on the subway.” He merely knits his brows sadly and lowers his head.
“He would leave you outside like that? That’s horrible.”
“Hey, what am I gonna do, call the cops?” I smile casually and tilt my head, trying to look cute. “I’m 24 years old, I can take care of myself.”
He gives me a broad, charming smile in return and it sends a shaky quiver down my spine. God, he’s beautiful. “Hey, I’m older than you are, and as you can see, even I can get in trouble.” We share a brief laugh and the token booth guy swings the door back open and lets us know the ambulance is on it’s way.
It’s a short trip to the hospital. The EMTs take a quick look at him, decide he’s stable and start asking him all these questions about his medical history. They let me stay with him for the most part, even after we get into the emergency room. The nurses clean him up and they make me wait outside during his X-Rays. While we’re waiting for them to develop, he and I sit and chat a little outside.
“So, Doug, what is it exactly that you do?” He smiles at me a bit, shifting slightly in his chair. There’s a ring of gauze around his head holding a sterile pad where the wound is, and in my mind, I muse a bit about it being a sort of halo.
“I…” My eyes wander off nervously. “I work for a cleaning service.” I frown; just knowing he’s going to think of me as some uneducated, lower class shmuck. He’s probably the son of a billionaire or something.
“Wow…that’s…” He squints, trying to come up with a better adjective than “uneducated, lower class shmuck”.
“Unglamorous? Yeah, I know, but it pays the bills.” I snicker a bit and he gives me a guilty smirk. I’m about to ask him what he does when the doctor comes out with the prints and asks us to come into one of the examination rooms. We’re both relieved to hear that Ricky merely has a minor concussion and that he’s okay to go home. Both he and the nurse tell him to stay awake for the rest of the night just to be on the safe side.
Even on the way outside, he insists on holding my arm. “Are you feeling better?” I tighten my grip on him on the way up the ramp, giving him a genuinely worried expression.
“I’m fine, there’s just one small problem.” He sighs. “How do I get home? Those guys took all my money and my metrocard.”
“We could take the train. I have enough for both of us.” I straighten my glasses, and then pat his arm reassuringly.
He begins to shake his head. “Doug, listen, I appreciate you rescuing me and making sure I’m alright, but…I mean, I can walk it, really.”
“In your state?” I huff dramatically. “I won’t hear of it. Now c’mon. You tell me how to get there and I’ll get you there safe.” He hesitates, and I can tell he’s about to protest again. “Ricky,” I smile wide, chuckling a bit. “Relax. If you’re worried I’ll totally flip out on you and stalk you or something once I find out where you live, please don’t. In all honesty, I probably wont remember how to get there in the morning.” He pauses, lowering his head to laugh. I decide that I love the sound of him laughing so much that I elaborate. “Yeah, that’s just me. I have the memory span of a goldfish; you know, ‘Hey, a castle! Whoa, check it out, a castle! Look, it’s a castle!’” He rewards me with boisterous, music-like laughter and I quickly join him.
“45th and 3rd.” He shakes his head at me, still chuckling a bit, gripping onto my arm with both hands. One of his hands reaches up to slide the back of his knuckles gently against the coarse hair of my dark brown beard. “You’re too much.” His mahogany eyes sparkle and he bites his lower lip shyly.
“That depends on who you ask.” I smile warmly at him, taking his arm to support him as we begin walking again. “Most would say I’m not enough.” I know, fishing for compliments is sophomoric and unnecessary, but I just can’t help myself. I needed to know if he’d properly respond. Much to my disappointment, he just snickers and says nothing. A long, awkward moment passes between us. Just then, a limo comes around the corner, and I see my opportunity to break the tension. “Hey, Ricky, check it out, we’re in luck. My limo is here.” This makes him smirk and turn to me skeptically. I watch and throw up my free arm in mock confusion as it drives off. “Hey wait, where is he going?” I raise my fist dramatically. “You’re fired!”
He bursts into laughter again, covering his face shyly. “What’s the matter with you?”
“I’ll have my people fax your people a list in the morning. 3rd Avenue, that’s the 6 train, right?” He just nods, still chuckling, his grip on my arm tightening. We slowly but steadily make our way to the subway station, I buy him a token and we quickly grab a seat on the Lex local. I don’t know whether it’s from exhaustion, pain, delirium or all three, but he leans his head against my shoulder the whole way. I’m in such shock, I can’t even move myself, let alone him, even if I had wanted to. A part of me considers pushing matters by draping an arm around him, but I wouldn’t have dared; I was still waiting for the other shoe to drop.
“Doug, I want you to know, I really appreciate you helping me out like this.” He murmurs weakly, his eyes partially closed from being rocked side to side like a baby from the moving train. I just smile and lean my head against his with a heavy sigh.
“It’s not a problem, dear.” We spend the rest of the trip in comfortable silence, just leaning on each other. I won’t lie; I’m savoring every last moment of this. I can still smell that deep, sultry musk of his over all the blood, dirt, antiseptic and subway filth. There’s also a faint hint of his sweet shampoo, or conditioner or whatever that is. I’m trying not to get my hopes up. He’s not going to let me in. He’s probably not even going to give me his phone number. I’ll be lucky if he even remembers my name come sunrise.
“This is it.” He abruptly breaks the silence and sits up straight, glancing over at me with a smile. I merely press my lips together and nod. He takes my arm again and he leads me out of the station and up onto the street. I’m a bit lost, seeing as how I’ve never been around this area before, but I pay attention to where we go so I can find my way back. He suddenly knits his brows at me. “Are you alright? You’ve been awfully quiet.”
I snap out of my trance and turn to face him. “Hmm? Oh yeah, I’m fine.” I smile reassuringly. “What about you? You think you’re gonna make it?” I take his arm with my free hand for added support and give him a worried, sympathetic expression.
“Yeah, it’s only two more blocks. I’m a bit dizzy but I’ll be okay.” He chuckles a bit and I immediately steer him towards the nearest storefront to rest.
“If you’re dizzy, we’ll stop for a bit. I don’t want you passing out on me.”
“Doug, relax. I’m fine!” He playfully shoves me back and grins. “C’mon, let’s go, we’re almost there.” I merely shake my head at him and tag along.
“If you say so.” He leads me around the corner and onto 3rd Avenue. We stop at a small, unassuming building, tall, narrow and old looking with paint-peeled steps, a rusted, unsteady banister and lobby doors that you have to force closed. We stand in the lobby and he digs his keys out of his coat pocket, and it suddenly occurs to me what this must look like from his perspective…like maybe the only reason I helped him is because I was hoping to get some nookie, and that’s the last thing I want him to think. I suddenly flush beet red and rub my hands together nervously, turning towards the door. “Um…Ricky, you’ll be alright here, won’t you? I mean, you can make it upstairs or whatever on your own?” I furrow my brows at him when he turns to glare at me.
“You’re going now?” He sounds almost disappointed, but I’m probably wrong. “I thought you said your roommate kicked you out.”
“Yeah, well…” I rub the back of my neck and avoid eye contact. “I don’t want to…I mean, I’ll find somewhere to go, don’t worry about me. I just wanted to make sure you got back here safe.”
He just sighs and slumps his shoulders. “Look, Doug, I was going to offer my futon for you to sleep on tonight since you helped me out, but if you really want to go, it’s your choice. Just don’t go running off because you’re afraid to impose on me. It’s not a problem.” He walks up in front of me extremely close, tilting his head a bit as though he were about to kiss me. “But if you try to steal anything, you’re in trouble.”
I immediately shake my head and retort in a dead serious voice. “No, no, I don’t steal, I’m not like that. Believe me, if I stole, I wouldn’t be so damn poor all the time.” I sigh and glare longingly into those big, beautiful dark eyes of his. “I…I just don’t want you to think…” I trail off, not knowing how to finish that thought.
He smiles knowingly, gently caressing my cheek with one of his slender, delicate hands, his head moving to close the already meager distance between our lips. My eyes flutter closed and both of us take a long, sharp intake of breath. I slide my hands around his slim waist, massaging him through his clothing with my thumbs. His other hand slides onto the back of my neck, his fingers coiling and entwining with my long brown hair. He tastes amazing, feels amazing and as always, looks amazing; but for some reason, I can’t seem to allow myself to fully enjoy it. It takes every ounce of willpower I can muster to eventually break the kiss. Ricky pulls back and licks his lips, keeping his arms tight around me. I sigh heavily and put a hand over my mouth, leaning my head into his chest.
“You’re hurt…we should stop.” I mumble, my brain, heart and genitalia having an internal struggle for dominance right now.
“You should come upstairs with me. I might not be able to make it up the stairs by myself.” He displays a mischievous grin.
I chuckle and lift my head up to plant a small kiss on the corner of his mouth. “Oh? Well…in that case, you may be right. I wouldn’t want you to fall.” He smiles at me, half turning to unlock the inner door, his arm still tight around my waist. I help him up three flights of narrow, crumbling tile stairs, holding his back and waist the whole time. Every so often, he’ll turn back to give me a seductive glance and I’d give him a cute, charming look in return. “Pre-war building?” I bite my lip, trying to fill the void of silence that had formed while I pictured myself in between his legs.
“Yeah, I guess. It may look crappy, but it’s made well. The great thing about this place is the thick walls.” He turns and grins broadly at me. I chuckle uncomfortably and blush at his blatant innuendo. He spins to look ahead, suddenly grabbing his forehead and stopping short with a grunt.
“Shit! You alright?” I rush up immediately behind him, wrapping both arms around him to steady his buckling form. “I got you, I got you…” He leans back against me with a groan, turns around and drapes both of his lean arms around my neck. I bend down a bit, pick him up and carry him the rest of the way. It’s not easy, I haven’t lifted anything over a hundred pounds in several years, but I manage to do it. (I’m assuming it was due to adrenaline, hormones or both.)
“God, I…I’m sorry, I just lost my…” He murmurs lowly in my ear as I gently put him down at the top of the stairs, his arms still gripped tight around me. I hug him and rub his back, shushing him softly.