The Notched Wing

Helen Tara Hughes – Poetry, Fiction, Film, Phantasms

Subway Encounters

Tonight I met a lovely man from Vancouver on the Subway – helped him find his way because it was on my way and because I remember my first time on the Subway here. Those years ago, I had the most detailed instructions from my friend, Kent Staines, gripped in my hand, and I followed the stream of people flowing through stairwells at rush hour like a Salmon spawning in a stream.

Back on my westbound journey again I slipped into daydreams in my seat, then woke to find a young college student staring at me. I winked at him. He smiled.
“Hey! You’re cute!” he said.
“So are you, pal,” I said.
And we grinned.
I daydreamed some more, and when I looked up again he was gone.

The train was stuck at St.George, and a woman walked through the car slowly and heavily, her high heels interrupting the quiet lull we commuters soaked in, our end-of-day bathtub of waiting, resting.
The man beside me burst like a balloon – “SHHHHHHH!” – but the sound had an angry tinge.
His girlfriend began giving him hell.
There were surrounded by renovating equipment, tall aluminum poles for tall ceilings, a pail of stucco.
The girlfriend finished her diatribe. There was a pause, and then – “I have a lot of Rage right now” – came his quiet reply.

I got up to get off the car, and grasped an aluminum Subway pole.
It was an aluminum painting pole.
Everyone burst out laughing.

Not often, but sometimes, and with the odds against it, the subway experience in Toronto creates Community. Against the odds. I like that, anyday.

Author: smallboy

Helen Tara Hughes is a writer, producer and actor. An award-winning theatre performer, she cut her teeth in classical and new work at major theatres across Canada, including the Stratford Festival. Her first taste of documentary work – a POV radio documentary for CBC’s ‘Outfront’ – gave her the documentary bug, and in 2009 she transitioned into Producing with the feature documentary, Goodness in Rwanda. As a writer, she has been published by Backofthebook.ca, Eros Digest, and TWISI, and has a book of short stories that will be published in the fall of 2012. As a filmmaker, she creates short films based on poetic writing. She moonlights as an Asst Producer and Coordinator for documentary, factual, and independent films, and is developing a slate of her own media projects for 2013.

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