On The Train From Tokyo

Around 7 o'clock on a crowded Sunday evening train away from Tokyo's destination-filled southwest side (Roppongi, Aoyama, Shibuya, etc.), a couple in their late forties/early fifties sat quietly in the car's corner seat. They were dressed, but not dressed up; he held a slim, pink, rather glossy shopping bag on his lap. They didn't speak, but just sat quietly and contentedly next to each other. When you know someone that long, that well, a silent train ride home is barely a punctuation mark, an almost imperceptible breath in a decades-long conversation. Is that what it's like to be old and married, I wonder?

Mamonaku Touka-Ichiba ni tsukimasu. Touka-Ichiba desu. They announce the next station, and the train begins to slow down. The man quietly hands the shopping bag to the woman, and they match glances and slight nods, or was it just the swaying train? No. Eyes forward, he gets up and joins the dozen or so people pressing out door. The woman, bag on lap, looks, not after him, but away, out the window. Not following his exit, she's a woman who went into the city for the day. Maybe I--no, there's a ring.

She adopted the precise mid-ground-focused gaze of Tokyo commuters; surrounded by people and ads and scenery and stuff, she expertly looked at nothing. She didn't move much, except for the rocking of the train, until Machida, when we all shuffled onto the platform. She held the pink shopping bag and a small black purse in the crook of her arm as she left for home.

Since 2001 here at greg.org, I've been blogging about the creative process—my own and those of people who interest me. That mostly involves filmmaking, art, writing, research, and the making thereof.

Many thanks to the Creative Capital | Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Program for supporting greg.org that time.

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