I am on the subway and there is Eddie. But not Eddie. A taller version of Eddie, obvs much younger than what Eddie would be now. Late twenties, same hair, same jaw, same energy; just…younger.
I remember my version of Eddie. He loved to sing, good dancer. He shook his fist at the moon and swore he would stay in the arts his whole life and pursue his dreams instead of swallowing anothers’. But practicality, bitches. The older he got, the more he changed his tune. Around twenty-five, he took a job at a bank. That usually means security for the rest of your life. People complain about banks but they do take care of their employees if you can get hired full time and not get laid off.
This taller kind of Eddie seems to be about the age of reckoning. He wears a suit, clutches a briefcase, looks a little like a little kid playing dress up. Wonder if this version of Eddie will take that middle management corporate job and move to Cincinnati? Almost sounds like a joke now. Or sort of cliche.
I’m on the subway when I see this taller kind of Eddie. I am off home after seeing the doctor. She bemoaned my little ear canals, the nurse bemoaned my wee veins. Nothing new. It’s a wonder I am here and can hear at all.
Thirty years gone, I look back at my twenties and I have a lot of friends like Eddie. I am pretty sure I could have made the choices those folks did. My own crossroads came just a few years later, at twenty-nine. I went a very different way and am only now looking back, when my position is so precarious, and my future still so foggy. Eddie is thriving, actually. Almost retired, he travels every year with his partner. They are really happy. He transferred back to Toronto a few years back. Unlike me, he rides the subway ironically, complaining about the dirt and the bums. That kind of privilege is bred of a security I have only had for short periods of my life. And not right now. Now? Now, I say, “yessir” a lot.
The taller kind of Eddie exits the train to his Associate level job somewhere. I am gonna assume he’s given up dancing. But me? I go home and write this. No idea who has it better.