At about 9:30pm this past Tuesday, I was heading home from a photography gig downtown. At that hour, the subway is really perfect for people-watching because it's a lot easier to get a seat and observe.
They get on the 5 train at 14th Street, big bags from punk emporiums Trash & Vaudeville and Search & Destroy under her arm, and a giant, 24-pack of toilet paper in a plastic bag under his. They sit down on the train, metal buckles clanging against black leather boots, silver chains jangling from wrists and black leather vests. His black hair is smooth and shiny, separated in the middle and flowing long straight over his shoulders, just barely revealing a runic tattoo on his right shoulder. There's a scrawling in fiery, red letters across the black t-shirt on chest of some metal band I've never heard of, black jeans on his legs. Though he is short for a man, he has no trouble nestling the the toilet paper package between his legs. His nose is pierced on the side, and his lip is pierced in the center, both marked with a silver hoop.
She is tall, much taller than him, even moreso in her platform combat boots. Her hair is jet black, but dyed that way, crunchy with a hair product that forms it into oddly perfect waves down her shoulders and back. Her skin is powdery white because it has been caked with makeup. Black eyeliner lines curve up the sides of her face, and blood red matte lipstick beams off her mouth, in high contrast to her dark eyes. Her septum piercing, a black half-ring, forms an arc shape through her nose. She's also wearing a black metal band t-shirt and a black leather vest. Long feathers hang from her ears. They chat loudly to each other in Spanish.
She opens a bottle of antacid, spills some on her leather boot, and takes a swig. It's cherry flavored. He rips open the toilet paper package and offers her some to clean it up, but she shakes her head, she doesn't need it. Do I have any on my lipstick? she asks in Spanish, pointing to her mouth. No, he shakes his head. She squeezes some antibacterial from a keychain on her black skull purse into her hand and rubs it in. She takes out a granola bar from her purse and offers him some. He shakes his head no, he doesn't want any, and she proceeds to rip pieces of the pink frosted snack into her mouth. She gets some crumbs on the skull purse and brushes them off. He changes his mind and they share.
A person sits down next to her and stares down at the massive tree tattoo running down the length of her upper arm, not looking away for a solid 15 seconds. I notice I'm staring at this person staring at this tattoo, trying to figure out how much time is passing.
Her fingers hold on long black acrylic nails and a bejeweled skull ring. I notice them when she wraps her hand around his knee. There is still antacid on her shoe when I get off at my stop, leaving them to their antacid and granola punk life.