I met a girl on the N train. She had shaggy blue hair. She wore a navy dress with polka dots and clunky black platform boots. She had a septum ring. She was beautiful.
“Hey, where did you get your boots?” I asked her.
I didn’t care where she got them. I just wanted an excuse to talk to her. I wanted to know more about her life.
“Oh these? Trash and Vaudeville,” she said. “But you could probably find them online.”
“Cool.” I said “I can’t wear heels because my feet are sensitive. I love platforms.”
“Where are you from?” I asked.
“Really? You have no accent.”
“Yeah, I’ve been here since high school.”
“Oh, where did you go to high school?”
“Oh! Me too.”
“Oh yeah, what was your major?”
“Yeah, you look like an art major.”
“All of my friends were art majors.” I said.
“I hated LaGuardia.” She confessed.
“Me too!” I said. “I felt like everyone was just as talented as I was. There was so much competition. But the administration stood behind people they believed could make it. I wasn’t one of those people.”
“Yeah, totally.” She agreed.
“Where did you go to college?”
“What are you up to now?”
“Well…” she began.
She was 21. She was homeless. She didn’t know where she was going to sleep that night. She wasn’t a drug addict. She was a normal girl who had no place to go. I asked if she could stay with a friend. She said she was waiting to hear back from someone. She hadn’t eaten in three days. She’d been picking up random bar tending gigs to try to stay afloat. My heart ached for her.
I suggested she try to work at the Union Square Farmer’s Market.
I told her to apply for a job at a local comic shop I knew was hiring.
I wanted to save her.
She was 21.
I was 21 once.
I was lost.
I floated from one friend’s couch to another’s.
I knew this life.
I know this girl.
She is me 12 years ago.
My hair wasn’t blue, but I was aching inside.
I didn’t know who I was or where I was going. I was completely alone.
When she got up to exit the train in the village I stared at her stockings. Through the holes I could see red scratch marks. I wondered if she was hurting herself.
“It was wonderful to meet you, lovely.” She said as she danced off the train.
I will think of her tonight as I go to sleep. I hope she has a place to rest her head.