I admit it. I miss New York. Yes I complained about the constant noise, nerve-jarring commotion, hectic pace and the subway.
What? I complained about the subway? Hard to believe. Because the subway was like one endless free figure drawing class. I'd steal glances or find people who were sleeping, reading or too spaced out/tired to notice. Or I'd just look at the whole car and assume an expression of someone who's attention was somewhere else, and try to draw the whole scene. There's so much going on in every car: musicians, poets, sleeper, dreamers, angry old people and crying babies. People from every corner of the world.
One time a young man approached me (and everyone's in their own private tiny cramped space on the subway and does not want to be approached--- there's probably at least one crazy person per subway car and you never know)
You an artist? he asked me.
Yes, I am. I said, hoping he wasn't going to yell at me for staring at his girlfriend or something.
Want to draw me?
And there he is. Abe. 23 years old. February 14, 1998.
I drew him. He smiled. I offered to give him the drawing.
No, he said. You keep it.
Valentine's Day. I guess Abe wanted to give me a little something special. Thanks, Abe!