This morning was a different day, and I took the bus to the subway alone. The first car I saw left without anyone getting on. I squeezed onto the second and swayed to Moby Dick. In which Ishmael joins the Pequod, Queequeg has his Ramadan, and Captain Ahab is introduced as a restless spirit, a shadow in words, who drives his fiery lance into creatures much fiercer than those found in the deep. Laid up for three days in fever after the loss of his leg. A ‘good, swearing man’; who will one day return from his distemper, no doubt, and regain his place as triumphant king of the sea.
Later, as I’m splashing through inches-thick puddles on the street, I reflect on what a book it is. It’s a book you read to your children. It’s a book you take with you on a long trip, as an excuse to read it hundreds of times. It’s a book you use to divine the night sky.
We shuttle from car to car, packed in shoulder-to-shoulder. At Dundas the escalator is full, and we rise as fast as those taking the stairs. Moving in synch. Was it fluke or design that had the escalator calibrated to the exact same speed?
At the stairs leading up to the street, there’s a long splash and a spray of water, which rains down on the people just ahead. It looks like the end of the world, or a ship tipping in frothy seas. Those behind wait and watch. Eventually the storm clears, or a red light hits, and the ones behind us who didn’t see rush in front of us anyway, so we put on our hats, tuck in our books, and mount the steps quickly and cautiously.