As he steps onto the train and tries to make his way through the aisle, his bag grazes the leg of a passenger who’s stepping out. The sound of the passenger’s soles coming to a scraping halt tears on his ear drums. A threatening, “Hey, watch out with that bag,” follows.
It takes him a second to realize that he has been addressed.
“Sorry, Sir,” he apologizes.
He keeps walking through the aisle and tries to get away. While moving further down between tense straphangers, he accidentally steps on a lady’s toes. She hisses at him to be more careful.
“I’m sorry, Ma’am. I’m sorry.”
From this scene, too, he tries to remove himself. A little farther down the aisle he gets to a free seat. He’s anxious. He tries to suppress his heavy breathing and turns to sit down. In the turning motion his backpack touches the head of the person sitting next to him.
“Excuse you!” the seated passenger bursts forth appalled.
“Yes Ma’am, excuse me. I’m sorry.”
He ponders whether he should find a seat somewhere else, but there are none. Slowly and carefully, he sits down. A constant stream of people waltzes by in front of him, in and out of the car through the aisle. Stepping and moving and shoving. Seemingly chaotic, but able to avoid each other.
His feet stick out into the aisle like hooks. He can’t make them vanish. He tries to no avail, twists them inside, outside, still, some passengers stumble over them. They get upset, scold him. He apologizes. Stupid feet.
His stop is close. He stands up and shoulders his backpack. He is careful, yet, in his turning motion it grazes the lady next to him again.
“That does it, Muthafuka, I told you to watch out!”
Startled he darts to the door. On the way he bumps into elbows and tangles with bag straps. A wave of commotion and animosity wells up behind him which he tries to stay ahead of. It breaks at the threshold of the closing doors and he escapes by stepping out into freedom. He rushes along the platform. On his flight there is always a limb or bag appearing from behind a bench that he collides with followed by the owner scolding him or staring daggers into his back. He can feel them. The first couple of times he still glances back and apologizes, but after a while he lowers his head and just keeps moving. His heart beats fast. He doesn’t do it on purpose. Time and again he resolves to walk cautiously and pay attention, but he doesn’t seem to be able to avoid that sneaky knee, foot, or bag which moves into his way. It doesn’t get better after he surfaces from the station. As he moves through the open space outside on the sidewalk he keeps colliding. Exhausted he stops on the way and looks back. I have to make it home, he tells himself.
He sprints the last block. He can’t stand it anymore. He pushes people aside left and right. Surprised squeals and angry shouts. Before it becomes unbearable, he reaches his building and falls into the vestibule. He runs up anticipating the humanless isolation of his studio. He reaches the fourth floor and with a sigh he closes his front door behind him. Finally home, all alone, finally safe. He calms down. As he moves into his living room, however, he bumps into the door frame, his closet, his dresser. He takes off his bag and bumps into the office chair by his desk. When he sits down his head knocks into his desk lamp. He begins to be afraid to move and remains motionless.
Only his thoughts keep moving. Instead of moving around obstacles, he moves into them. At any given time his movements don’t seem to fit where the things around him are located--or is it the objects which are not in the right place? All alone he sits there pondering. Is he a bother to the world or is the world a bother to him?