It’s possible you don’t see the reason why I took this photo. Maybe it’s too busy, too full of life. There’s too much going on. Maybe the railing obscures and distracts you, or the man in the brown coat with purple umbrella captivates you enough so that you need go no farther.
You’ve seen enough. You’re ready to move on.
But just a little beyond him, if you look closer, there is a younger man hunched over. See him? He’s wearing a white cotton tee. His head is between his knees. His hands are grabbing either side of his stomach.
Clearly this younger man feels the vomit inside him after a night of hard drinking. He is using all his strength to keep the bile at bay. The subtle sway of the subway doesn’t help. He must steady himself, steady the spinning in the center of his brain.
When his stop comes, we both happen to be getting off. Astoria.
The doors open. He staggers onto the platform, bracing himself. After a short while, he stumbles into a corner store, careens down the cereal aisle. Holding his stomach.
I glance inside briefly to see what he’s going to buy. Squirt?
Outside, the sidewalk is still wet from a night of raining. The city is eerie at 4:20 in the morning.
I walk the rest of the way home, alone and whistling the accompaniment to the pieces of trash that litter the streets. NYC is so filthy.