Chapter 1 - 1/1I watch you, you know. I do. I don't think you've caught me yet, but...
Every day, at 6:07pm, I watch you board the 4th of 6 cars on the Red Line in the direction of Glenmont. I get on at Dupont Circle, and you get on the next stop, Farragut North.
The train is pretty full at that point. Sometimes, when you're lucky, you find a place to sit. Sometimes you stand.
Either way, I enjoy the view.
I've been watching you for months. How could I not notice you, a tall, broad man, round belly straining through your cotton shirts, peeking out from under your unbuttoned suit coat? By the time you board the train, your boring, sanitized-for-DC-consumption tie is already loosened, and you've unbuttoned that top button. On hot summer days, you've discarded the silk object completely, stuffed into your briefcase.
I watch you. The way you run your chubby fingers through your reddish brown hair, or play Fruit Ninja on your iPhone. I watch your gray-greenish eyes as they gaze out the window, an expression on your face that lets me know that you're a million miles away. (I wonder where you go in those moments?) I know you've lived in the area for a while, and have been taking the Metro as long... the way you move with the train instead of fighting it when you have to stand, becoming one with the subway... it's the way experienced riders do. Some don't even have to hang on if the person running the train is good with their stops.
You always hang on.
I like it when you stand. I like watching your fat jiggle with the movement of the car. You flex your arm to hold on, and there's a bit of bulk there, from weight lifting past, but in the summer, when your coat is off and you're wearing short-sleeved shirts, I can see the pudge in your arms dangling, moving with the car.
Summer isn't your time, is it? The sweat drips from your hair, your soft double chin. You look uncomfortable. (I feel bad for that.)
I like it when you sit. You're a massive man, and take up space. You require the whole 2 person seat for yourself... only the skinniest of people could sit with you. Yeah, you manspread, but it's not like if you didn't, there'd be room for another. Besides, you need room for your enormous gut to hang down. It's too uncomfortable to sit with it so long all piled up in your lap, as well as your briefcase and your jacket.
You don't like winter much either, do you? Too much stuff; coats and hats and gloves and scarves, wool suits and ties and briefcases. When you have to get an inner seat, it forms a mountain in your lap. There's no room to move. You look uncomfortable. (I feel bad for you.)
Most of the time, I get to watch you for a half an hour, until you exit the train at Fort Totten, the escalator taking you down. I'm assuming you transfer to the Green Line, and go to Greenbelt. You must commute down I-95 every day. You don't seem like the type to live in Greenbelt or the surrounding area.
You could transfer at Gallery Place, you know. But you don't. I'm assuming you like waiting outside. It is nice to watch the seasons change on the little trees there. (Plus, the Red line's faster.)
Where do you live? One of the bedroom suburbs? I bet you live in Columbia. It would make sense. Some days you get off at Union Station. I bet those days you took the MARC in. Running late? The wife need the car?
I don't like the days you get off at Union Station. I only get to watch you for 10 minutes. Not even enough time to stir up a good fantasy about you.
I love watching you. I've been watching you for months. Possibly even years.
BTW, I don't know if anyone else has, but, yes. I have noticed.
At first I thought I must be imagining things. Seeing what I want to see. So I started to pay more attention. And as the weeks passed, I realized that, no, it's really happening.
You're getting fatter, aren't you?
Your shirts seemed a little more full. Your belly seemed a little rounder, a little fuller, the potbelly becoming even more pot-like. Eventually it started straining at the buttons. Soon, new shirts. But it didn't stop there.
Your ties... they used to reach your belt. But lately they've been creeping up, up, up, a tell tale sign of increased girth.
I've watched your gut sag lower and lower and lower as the months have gone by. Filling up more of the space between your legs.
Your double chin has gotten more pronounced, your face rounder. (I don't know if you're intentionally trying to hide it behind a beard now, but it's not working. The beard, however, works nicely for you. Is this a Movember thing?) You've gotten wider in general. Your shoulders... they've always been broad, but you seem to take up more space than ever. I've noticed some new suits recently. (You look good in them. You have a good tailor.)
But the biggest measurement of all is exactly how much space you take up in Metro's double-cushioned seats. If you sat to the side, you used to take up not quite half of the 2nd seat.
Now you take up almost 2/3rds of it.
What's happened? All that rich food from all those lunch meetings catching up with you? Is it the old formula of overtime = no time for the gym + lots of delivery food? Or are you wallowing away a bad breakup in pints of Ben & Jerry's after you come home to your all-too-empty townhouse on Lake Elkhorn?
Your loss? My gain.
No... actually, it's YOUR gain. But I couldn't be happier about it.
1 chapter, created 4 years , updated 8 months
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