On the subway, going somewhere. I don't come this far north very often. My book is open. I pretend to read while I consider my fellow travellers.
A man gets on and sits near me. He's in his 70s or maybe 80s, dressed well enough. Nice pants and collared shirt tucked neatly in. Tasteful rimless glasses. Somethng a little odd about that blue cap perched on the top of his head though. I take extra care examining his clothing as if it will provide me with a revelation as to why he wears a pinny over top of them.
It's the kind you'd wear in gym class, to keep the teams sorted out. Or maybe a dance-a-thon.
HELL-FIRE IS REAL, the pinny yells, ASK GOD TO FORGIVE YOUR SINS IN JESUS' NAME.
I consider my transgressions.
I speak to God. I say:
God, I am so sorry I forgot to turn off the air conditioning this morning. It is a sin to waste all that energy.
I'm sorry I haven't taken the ring I gave my mother for Christmas to be sized yet. I am a terrible daughter.
I'm sorry I haven't been to see all the babies I should have seen by now.
I'm sorry, God, that I tempt my boyfriend into ignoring the sex out of wedlock rule of Islam.
I lied to you just now God. I'm sorry about that. But I'm not sorry for having sex. Not one bit. I know you understand. I mean, come on.
It could go on like this but it's my stop. It's the old man's stop too. I check the back of his bib. I'm disappointed it's the same message as on the front. We disappear into the city.