I saw you bouncing up the stairs of the Bleecker Street station, determined to get into the last car of the 6 train, where I was standing. I don’t remember what song was playing but I know my foot was bouncing and my fingers were drumming on the side of the pole. You apologized to the kid whose backpack you brushed on your way in. He didn’t mind. You were trying not to smile but your heart wasn’t behind the battle. You stood close to me, the way people do in subway cars, and we avoided eye contact. My heart wasn’t in that. I was wearing sunglasses that helped darken my gaze, so I was able to catch the cut of your hair, your fire-engine fingernails, your big round glasses and the gold medallion pressed against your ribcage. And those lips, big and soft, still hovering on the edge of a smile.
Going into the event, of course Joseph would have preferred success to failure but the final verdict on something like that can change over time. The important thing was for the event to take place. There was no way things could continue the way they were. There would be violence and possibly, even likely, war. If war came the judges would no longer be able to enforce the law.
Joseph was as prepared for the event as he would ever be, to the point that he was growing impatient, as if the longer he waited now, the longer the odds of success.
The judges had been set for a while. The weather looked clear for the foreseeable future. Nobody was getting any younger.
“Now is the time,” somebody whispered and that was all it took to start the event.
Joseph looked around in a sick panic until he saw Sara. He made a slow, determined path to her. Whatever the event was going to be, he wanted to go through it with her. “Now is the time,” he said.
“I heard,” she said.
The judges had heard too, so had mobilized to observe, record, analyze, and pass history’s first judgment on the event.
“I’ve been living in a dream,” he said.
“We all have,” she said.
The event spread from its epicenter at rate halfway between a crow and the speed of light. It enveloped Joseph and Sara in mid-breath.