The Train Moves and the Fields Stand Still

The pretty woman is looking at me and frowning. Her hand has flipped over and is gripping the man’s leg tightly. The old man is tugging at the back of his shoes still and ignores us.

“Look,” I protest, “if you don’t believe me, I can tell you what it says on the back of the paper. The article is about–“

The man holds up his hand and glares some more.

I haven’t gotten to the end of the paper yet, he says, and I didn’t buy it to have it ruined by some pervert on the train.

“Come on, Lisa.”

He stands up and starts to pull a large suitcase out from under his seat. When he bends down his glasses slip down his nose and fall onto the floor. I want to try to calm him down, so I lean over in my chair to pick up his glasses for him and bang my head and my hand on the head and hand of Lisa.

She gasps a little as our heads hit, and the man gasps a little when he hears her gasp. He sits back down and waits for his glasses with his hand out. I lean back so Lisa can get the glasses, but she leans back to get away from me.

The glasses are still on the floor.

“Are you okay?” the man asks Lisa.

“Yes,” she says. “We just banged heads trying to get the glasses.”

She bends down again to pick them up, moving slowly to make sure I don’t make any sudden moves, but I don’t move.

“Banged heads? With who?” he says as she hands him the glasses. His eyes are tiny without them on and are flicking wildly around. I wonder if he can see at all without them. He slips them back on, and his eyes settle immediately. They are still cross-eyed, but they focus on Lisa.

“With…with him,” Lisa says and gestures at me.

He almost jumps out of his seat at me. He spits when he speaks.

“Jesus Christ man, what’s the matter with you?”

“Honey, it was just an accident,” Lisa says. “He was just trying to get your glasses at the same time I was.” She is patting his tie and pulling at his shirt, trying to calm him down.

Even the man with the small shoes can’t ignore us now and is staring at us.