Sorry I’m late. Just had the most amazing experience.
Well, you know how there are some places down there where the train lines run parallel with each other and once in a while your train will match up right alongside another train and you’ll find yourself, like, I don’t know, maybe two feet away from some stranger on that other train and you both just happen to look up from your phones and catch each other’s eye?
Yeah. Everybody is just looking at their stupid phones all the time. It’s sick.
I’m not talking about cell phone habits. I’m talking about a chance meeting. Two strangers. Twenty intense seconds, max, before our trains diverge on to their own separate destinies.
You know humans can’t stare at each other for more than, like, a second or two – in silence, that is. Somebody has to either speak or to look away.
I never thought about it like that.
. . . but if nobody looks away and nobody speaks then that can lead to emotional hypnosis. It becomes a stare-lock.
It’s called a stare-lock, but you have to be careful. Stare-locking is powerful. And risky.
If you say so.
Well I had the most wonderful, amazingly perfect stare-lock down there just now and I’m in love.
No kidding. You met someone?
Not exactly. Even though we were right up next to each other face-to-face – we weren’t. We were each in our own box. Quarantined, if you get what I mean.
Sure. Those train windows are insulated on account of all the noise in the tunnels. That’s why they won’t let you open them anymore.
So, even if we had wanted to we couldn’t have talked, which is not a negative because talking will eventually screw up anything. And even though the cars are brightly lit–
It’s a security thing. People are less apt to do bad shit in brightly lit spaces.
. . . even though they are brightly lit, there is darkness in the tunnel outside the cars. Like an abyss. And though we were right up there so close, gazing into each other’s aura, shutting out the rest of the world around us, so close we could have done high-fives or embraced or whatever, we were separated by a dark cavernous abyss.
There is no sense in lighting up those train tunnels. Nobody’s walking around down there except for the guys who need to fix things and they have their own flashlights with them, and if you didn’t have a flashlight with you or maybe a headlamp like the coal miners, you know, you are not going to see diddly squat in those tunnels.
We were two astronauts, each on our own spacecraft, one of us coming from Jupiter and heading towards Venus, the other having just left Charon on the way to Ceres – and our vessels met up and momentarily shared orbits and we looked out of our portholes and stare-locked. A deeply beautiful, dramatic, electrifying stare-lock.
How did we get into outer space?
We got there metaphorically . . . and these two space travelers were soon to be millions of miles apart. So whatever emotions came over them, whatever feelings were ignited in this miniscule fraction of eternity, they will have to make the most of it because they are never, ever going to meet again.
Sad. But you could meet up somewhere. Come on, you’re actually on earth in the same city.
No. Wouldn’t want that to happen. Would only be messy. Disappointing. We’re only human. This is as good as it gets.
And you call that love?