On the T
The train’s crossing over the frozen Charles when the boy next to me says he likes my mug. My mug? At first I think he’s hitting on me. But then he says he likes how red it is. The way the black lid contrasts perfectly with the body. He says, Can I ask you a question? I guess, I say. Are those little rubber guys on the bottom to keep it from getting knocked over? Yes, I say. And do they really work? Oh, yeah, I say. He whistles. I start to believe he’s not flirting, but someone else who truly appreciates the mug. Can I hold it? he asks. I hesitate. Just for a moment, he says quickly. I never trust anyone, but his hands have an innocent look to them, soft and pudgy. And the heft of the mug, its pear shape, its sleekness, one cannot appreciate these things by sight alone. I let him hold it. When the train stops downtown, I take it back. The boy asks where I got it, but I won’t say. This is the best day I’ve had in months.
I’m on the train again, headed to MGH to see my GYN. I hate her with a fiery passion, but I keep going, so I can’t complain. Watch it, says the guy sitting next to me. You watch it, I say back. He folds up his newspaper. No, he says, you almost spilled your coffee on me. No way, I say. This mug never spills. I can see how it might appear you, an outsider, one who lacks familiarity with the almost supernatural properties of this mug. But you’re safe. Here, I say, I’ll prove it. The man scoffs but doesn’t move away. I hold the mug over his lap and slowly tilt it to the side. He looks at me. Now we will see whether he too believes.
About the Author:
Anna Silverstein is an MFA student at Vanderbilt University. She is the 2015-16 Creative Writing Fellow at the Curb Center, where she leads expressive writing workshops for people who have been impacted by cancer. She is the winner of the 2015 Guy Goffe Means Prize in fiction and the former Editor in Chief of Nashville Review. She is from Boston and lives in Nashville.