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In his head

Many years ago, I was on a long subway ride, in a not-crowded car. I was writing in my notebook and could feel that the guy standing in front of me was directing attention my way. Being a young poet, I assumed he was trying to read what I was writing, and I hostilely hunched over my book with my head down. Stop after stop he didn't move, and I didn't look up.

At my station, I slammed my notebook shut and picked up my head. The contrast between my assumption that he was trying to read over my shoulder and the obvious reality—that he'd been waiting all this time for me to see his junk hanging out—made me burst into laughter. I laughed, jumped up & was out the door.

I think about him sometimes, and I wouldn't be surprised if he thinks about me every day. I'd wager he never exposed himself again, and I bet he's never told anyone: not only was he doing something creepy, but he wouldn't want to reveal that a baby-faced girl guffawed the minute she caught sight of the goods.

I hope he lives to be 90 years old and never figures out the real reason I laughed.
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