When we reached the lobby, after having climbed two deserted flights of steps and passed through empty, empty hallways, we sat and read. I felt a crippling numbness crawl through the veins in my right arm, as if it were trying to slowly secede from my body but was stuck. "It's a good thing you're scared now," she said, "you wouldn't want to be overconfident." I was not, and I did not exactly feel comfort, but knew it was there. The interviewer called my name as she entered the small, silent lobby. I was ready. She smiled and let me go.
I talked as we headed out into the newly November air. Thick asian noodles sat between us as she listened to every detail of the interview, interposing now and then to ask one of her badly-crafted, badly-received questions. The thing was over. We smiled.
The subway train lurched forward, and we moved on to a new adventure. She was wearing tapered khakis that hit above the belly button, Dad's sweatsocks and sneakers. On top, a thin, see-through beige shirt with metallic gold stripes and a khaki faux suede blazer, sleeves tinted with age and wear. This was all I noticed when she told me my car had been hit while it was parked on our street and that if I had taken it into the house as she had asked me to do before, she would not have to pay for the damage. Human error. The train stopped for whatever reasons trains stop when we most need them, and we lost ourselves in thought. I wrote her a message with my naive hands that even if she lost it all, I would still be there for her. There was a way to feel something when it was written down and could be seen for what it was.
We got to the train station, and she stared in blank indifference at the train arrival times. We were being plagued with bad luck, and we knew it. "It's not that I don't care about your problems," she said, "but these are adult consequences." I saw her eyes but this time they did not stare back. Her nose was puffy and red, but I couldn't tell if that was from inner turmoil or her sinus infection. She took a receipt for the MetroCard she had just purchased, crumpled it, and threw it at the small black hole in the big trashcan. It hit the lid, and fell down against the floor. We walked on.
On the train home, I wrote. She asked if it was in my secret language again. "No," I said. "I think that habit is bad for me."