Thursday, June 13, 2019

the last book I ever read (If Beale Street Could Talk by James Baldwin, excerpt eight)

from If Beale Street Could Talk by James Baldwin:

And, when a subway car is packed—unless it’s full of people who know each other, going on a picnic, say—it is almost always silent. It’s as though everybody is just holding his breath, waiting to get out of there. Each time the train comes into a station, and some of the people push you aside, in order to get out—as happened now, for example, with the man who smelled of hot sauce and toothpaste—a great sigh seems to rise; stifled immediately by the people who get on. Now, a blond girl, carrying a bandbox, was breathing her hangover into my face. My stop came, and I got off, climbed the steps and crossed the street. I went into the service entrance and punched the clock, put my street clothes away and went out to my counter. I was a little late to the floor, but I’d clocked in on time.

The floor manager, a white boy, young, nice enough, gave me a mock scowl as I hurried to my place.

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