The diaries of Arnon Grunberg (6)

With half an eye Arnon was keeping a close watch on the man who stood in front of the front exit of the subway car. Shortly before 14th Street, the Hispanic man, dressed in black polished shoes with wide noses and a black woollen coat that reached down to his knees, moved toward the exit doors. Arnon knew he had to occupy the spot now if he wanted to prevent himself from causing a stir to his own embarrassment in the halfly full train. As soon as the train had halted he moved without delay toward the doors and grapped to the supports on both sides above his head, slightly spreading his legs apart to steady himself.

But as soon as the train started moving again, shaking left and right, Arnon’s stomach turned unstoppable in every direction, causing a strong pulse upward, outward, thumping in his stomach. His head was dizzy and though his eyes and thoughts were clear, his thoughts were absent from registering anything beyond the sickness that controlled his body, and as his sickness grew graver, his thoughts propelled around the abominate anchor that his stomach was.

“Try and hold out until Fulton Street, suck it up, for two more minutes, not even perhaps.”

But halfway Arnon realized that he would not be able to fight the dominance of his physical condition with the theoretical powers of his thoughts. Cold sweat stood thickly on his forehead, he must look pale as the moon, Arnon thought, but people were either simply indifferent or ignoring his suffering owing to their rudimentary unfitness. Arnon threw their indifference straight back at them.

“This is a dog eat dog world, even if my stomach can’t chew on it today.”

The silverly aluminum with the fluorescent light flikkering, swang to the left and right, the iron parts grinded along the tracks closer to Fulton Street but still too far. Arnon turned slowly around, sensing with the absolute conviction of a seer the sure prediction of his intestines. It was as it was written and his actions were merely reading outloud his predestined fate.

Slowly he opened the car doors, bend his upper body forward, grasping the right outersupport with his right hand, then slowly the left handle, and not even two seconds afterward a powerful beam of yellow brownish fluid gulped out. The noise of the wheels squeezing forcefully over the tracks, pushing forward hundreds of people tens of meters below surface, past trash, rats and darkness, overwhelmed all other perception.

Arnon hang crucified between the two outerdoor handles between the seventh and eight car of the train, the tracks raced rapidly below him passing his eyes barely. Again a new pulse of vomit freed itself and splashed out over the pitch black darkness below.

Finally, it stopped, the train slowed down and Arnon wiped his mouth with a paper handkerchief. As the train came to a stop, he slowly turned around, in control of himself, returning absently the woken stares of compassion that were unable to break through their unfit masks. As he rushed through the opened doors, he felt his cold head turn colder as a fit of sweat burst out on his stirn. He reached for the wooden bench, sat down and bend forward, breathing slowly, recapturing his consciousness.

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