Vlad is speaking programming languages at his computer again, aloud. We share an office six hundred feet above sea level. I can’t tell if you’re talking to me when I have my headphones in, dammit.
“Ah, forget it man.”
I turn up the volume for good, gangster rap so loud Easy-E might flinch at the snare.
I don’t listen to music after work. The elevated line rumbles so loud that it’s all I can do to make sense of the homeless lady’s gesticulations outside the corner bar. Proffering cigarettes or asking for one? It’s so loud I can’t tell if Al’s Towing is waving me across or if Al is ornery and about to run me down in the crosswalk. By the time the train passes and the sound clears I’m across the way. I’m alive. The sound of another approaching train starts to build overhead. It’s the blue line again.
At the bodega I’m looking at the cashier funny because she has a name–I’m sure of it–but I’m not confident in my short-term memory. Is it Heather? Hitchcock? No. Her green eyes and long hair are distracting. Hegemony? Shit. Here comes her fat Asian manager to interrupt like he always does.
“Hailey, you pick up Dan-O’s shift Friday, yes?”
“Yeah Sang,” she says. “I got it.” She swings her curls and cracks a sly smile at me once her boss is out of sight.
Hailey. I knew it.