Coming and Going: a metro ride.

I sat on the metro back home, which was beginning to fill up with suits and other commuters…when a man came in off his face. He’d come back from some football game and threw himself violently onto the seat opposite as he gargled something in Spanish. Soon enough, he started to fidget and untwine himself whilst dribbling his vowels all across the floor. Everyone ignored his eyes, yet I remained watching him as soon he interlocked with my eyes and began a liquid form of monologue. I sat still and kept my pupils on his folded face as he threw sentences at me. Several of the passengers raised eyebrows of sympathy, curious to what my contribution might be. And he droned on whilst holding an empty-ish beer can and slapping his thigh at his own jokes. He got quite into it, and clapped whenever his adjectives arose and the passion slowed: something about a Spanish goalkeeper. The direction of the conversation went from one thing to another, as all drunken talks go, but still centred around football. He asked why they get paid so much, why someone was fired, why someone was hired, why someone was substituted… mistakes, casualties, goals, drunken expectations, drunken solutions.
About three or four stops had passed, whilst everyone still tried to ignore him (but listened with one ear) and I had been waiting for the inevitable moment which he finally threw at me. A question in slurred speech.
But I had no desire to converse in Spanish on this swollen level about football on the tube with a man whose opinionated tone was a catalogue of intoxicated ideals and sensitivities.
‘Lo siento,’ I said, like a bastard. ‘No puedo hablar Español.’
The other commuters exploded with uproars of laughter as the speaker’s face collapsed into a heap of disappointment and hopelessness. For one moment I thought he was sure to either slap me or weep. Instead, he threw his hands up in surrender. An absolute waste of twenty-five minutes spent ranting to a deaf foreigner. He lay in quiet as the other passenger’s laughter rang off bit by bit. No doubt it had sobered him up a little. He waited until the next stop; his world temporarily crushed and possibly ‘unsuited’ to the people onboard the Metro. Time to leave. He raised himself and presented a resentful smile as he rolled off the tube and took several strides in the opposite direction.
I’m sorry old boy. Football bores the piss out of me.


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