As I waited on my train to work, I recounted the words the older, Chinese lady said to me in Mandarin the night before. She sat down on the bench next to us, splayed her belongings across a couple of seats, did not look at me but said, “you can’t take this train tomorrow.” I didn’t respond, bewildered. First off, there were no signs in the platform confirming her statement, and it wasn’t even true. Second, she spoke in Mandarin, not fully addressing me, but whom else was she talking to? And how did she know I’d understand?
Later on in the G train, she went from passenger to passenger passing out business cards for massages. I whispered to my roommate what she had said to us earlier (to me, because perhaps the lady was able to discern my ethnicity, a skill most do not possess), and we both, slightly confused, decidedly wrote it off.
The next day, I gave myself a solid 20 minutes to make it to work on time. Shit, I just missed one as I ran down the stairs, but patiently waited for one to come in 10 – maybe 15 – minutes. I waited 40 before running back upstairs to call a car, already half an hour late. I’m not sure when the train ever ended up coming, but I couldn’t wait another minute.
I shared my car with a young girl who approached me, also frustrated with the train’s tardiness. She held onto pink and white ice skates and explained that she was late to see a movie with a friend in the city. She asked me if I was going to the L, and would I walk with her, because she is only 14. I told her I was going to work and that I was getting a car, but my work is only a couple blocks from the train, so she was welcome to hitch a ride with me. After a frustrating exchange with the driver and paying extra to have him drop her off at the station, I sent her off and finally made it to work. I don’t remember her name.
I wondered, though, was that old Chinese masseuse a medium of some sort? Did she magically predict my future? Did I hallucinate the entire exchange, as I constantly question my reality, as I know it, from watching too many mindfuck movies as a teenager?
Did I just make this entire story up to make my life feel a little more mystic?
Natalie will confirm the story. It doesn’t even matter if it is true, anyway, because when it comes to stories, a story can just be a story. It is meant to entertain. It is meant to intrigue. It can teach, titillate, frighten or confuse. And without stories, it would be impossible to learn more about the people you come in contact with, as it would be impossible to share yourself with others. This very concept is why I felt it important to dedicate this issue to the theme of storytelling, and why I continue to dedicate myself to writing.
I hope in our years of sharing our stories with you at Bleach, you have been able to learn, be entertained and go forth and talk to others about something you saw, read, or felt from our content. Stories would be nothing without listeners and readers. So, in light of the recent holiday, we are thankful for you, the reader.
Tiffany Diane Tso