The Girl ambles along the chaotic trail worn into the sandy earth by the hundreds walking before her. Cold, cold, is all she thinks, as she pulls the frayed corners of the woven blanket tighter around her thin shoulders. She walks, not raising her head, instead letting herself be guided by the Old Woman several paces in front of her.
All of it, no matter. Junior’s romantic criminality made it possible. Sentimental psychopath. P.W. too. They’d met in detention. They’d lived there together for eight years until they were 18 and could no longer be tried, back then, for crimes of ten year-olds. Junior had attempted to play the piano in the recreation room their teacher, Miss Lisa, had set up in the Center. P.W. sang abstractedly to the radio. The piano never took with Junior. Now, P.W. was as much a DJ as he was a driver, as much confidant and metaphysician as he was a killer. P.W. : rare groove aficionado. Junior, connoisseur.
It is the Age of Aquarius. Kennedy is dead. Malcolm X is dead. Coretta buried her King. You still have your milk teeth. You are seated, swinging your feet. You are going to the hospital to visit Little Brother. He burned his leg on the iron Mother forgot to turn off. When he burned his leg, she was sleeping. When he burned his leg, Father was awake. Father was awake in another house with a needle in his arm.
The car was full of passengers and all seats were occupied except for one. Third row isle was a good seat. He took the seat and did not look outside the window. The yellow walls were hypnotic. The advertisement was irritating. The metal poles looked too icy to touch and were perhaps smeared with strangers’ snot. Although the dark green seat was not as plush as his old sofa, he fell asleep on it. From thirteen o’clock to thirteen sixty-nine, all the passengers got off. He was left alone. A young girl in black boots stepped onto the train and stood next to him.