The day was long Ty was exhausted from climbing up the ladder with 100 pound bundles of shingles in the hot summer sun. Roofing paid cash, hardly enough to make his rent in Anacostia in Southeastern D.C. Anacostia is a poor community basically an African-American neighborhood with a growing Hispanic population. It has one Denny’s restaurant, no department stores, no movie theaters, no colleges with a few local owned grocery stores that seem to front the underground illegal drug sales.
At the end of the day Ty walked from his job site to the Dupont Metro where he keeps a change of clothes, shave bag and a towel in a locker. His daily routine is to lock himself in the bathroom, wash up, brush his teeth and put on fresh clothes while he waits for the train to take him to his apartment.
Ty is proud of having his own apartment. He works tirelessly to keep paying rent from month-to-month with his earnings but it leaves very little money after he pays his bills. He is a talented carpenter and has repurposed junk he found on the job. He has built the furniture in his place, platform bed, bookcase, table and chairs, refurnished to fill his minimalist clean sleek manly space. The walls are painted perfectly chocolate-brown, clean and warm. He takes great pride in his success and fights to maintain his integrity in his new urban life-giving up his past Shakur ways.
Abriana finished with her last patient of the day and started aggressively shoving her journals into her tote trying to make the next train home. She typically is last-minute and loves the adrenaline rush to make the train just in the nick of time. The high, creates the illusion of being a power executive “doctor.” She runs to the Metro and takes the escalator underground running to catch her train home.
Late as usual the train was full, except one seat way at the back of the car. She could see the shadow of a black man sitting listening to music on his I Phone, head down, staring into his empty hands. He was a thin, muscular man, that barely filled the seat. As she approached, she noticed he was wearing a dark charcoal t-shirt, black washed out jeans and shiny combat style boots. As she approached closer she could see his perfectly shaved head, 5 o’clock stubble and strong chiseled onyx jaw. In that instant, reflections of her illusion of the Dupont Circle Fountain filled her head.
“Is anyone sitting here?”, Abriana puffed, out of breath from her run. Out of the strong, sexy darkness of the train, Ty lifted his head and smiled with this amazing grin extending off his face. He nodded his head as to motion her to sit in the seat next to him and she quickly plopped down. She immediately remembered seeing Ty early today at the fountain. Then instantaneously she was reminiscent of him sitting in the back of the train car everyday, De’ya’ vu? “How could this be the man I fell in love with at the fountain today?” “Can he be the man that road in the same Metro car as me for the past 10 months?”
Her heart pounded as her face flushed. His smile melted her being as she put out her hand then said, “Hey, I am Abri, good to meet you. Ty reached up and pulled out the ear buds, extended his strong dark hand and wrapped it around hers, “Hey I am Ty, what’s good?” Sam Smith’s acoustic version of “Lay me down” sounded from his ear buds. “You made the train today, I guess that’s good?”, Ty said squeezing her hand firmly as he smiled while looking deep into her eyes.
The music filled the empty space in the conversation, the words saying… “The feeling’s overwhelming…. it’s much to strong…… Can I lay—by your side– next to you….you….you…..and make sure I will take care of you…I don’t want to be here if I can’t be with you tonight.
They both started to laugh as the Sam Smith song played on, Lay me down…