I listen to my ipod too loudly.
I got on to the wrong subway car. I saw a big group of kids being noisy as I entered so I walked to the opposite end and sat down away from them.
About twenty late teenagers in all, throwing things, shouting, being teenagery. Then four or five boys just started laying into this one kid that was with them.
Beating the fuck out of him, kicking him.
Balled up on a seat with his hands up to protect his face, trying to fight back.
Other passengers move, gasp. The girls in the group are texting and cheering. The train is between stations and I can’t move any further away. I try to look elsewhere and not draw attention to myself. After a few minutes it breaks up for a bit. Then they start in on someone else in the group. It seems like it might be a game.
The doors open at the next stop and I change cars. I walk as far down the car as I can and then see the NYPD officers flirting with a girl.
“There are some kids fighting in the next car,” I tell the copper.
“Are you sure they’re fighting or are they just fooling around?” he asks.
“I’m not sure but it looks like fighting to me.”
I sit down. Heart racing.
The train stops at the next station and they kick a few of the boys off.
I change at Atlantic feeling small and frightened and alone.