the man on the train

The balding man with gray hair and tan pants was leaning against the railing of the surging BART car, his iPhone in his left hand, and his black messenger bag placed between his two unstable feet. He was an old man, though he had not yet come to terms with this fact. His youthful self and his aged self stood locked in battle on the stage of life, in a tug-of-war, and his middle-aged years were clearly giving way to the pull of time.

The car jerked and jolted, as the train is apt to do. He didn’t have his BART sealegs, the ones that allow you to absorb the chaos and uncertainty of movement into your bent knees, into the bahnda ashtanga focus of your flexing abs. The car leaped and the man lurched forward into the crowded aisle, reaching flailingly with his right hand for the black nylon webbing loop that hung from the top of the car, nearly falling, while holding tightly to the iPhone, almost crashing to the floor. At this near-catastrophe, a young man jumped up out of the differently-abled seat (the seat that he should never have occupied), offering it the old man. The old man, both embarrassed at the commotion and angered that his young self was indeed giving way his elderly self, refused, and refused again. The young man stayed stood, and the old man finally took the seat, a little bit older than he was at the top of the turnstyle.

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