Hunched in a prized pocket on the 5:55 out of World Trade Center, an American boy marked his territory with a 180-degree sneer that would impress Billy Idol.  He adjusted the volume on his steel-gray iPod and smiled as several suits slinked away from his corner, taking their abrasive tones and financial stats to the end of the car.

While the train chugged away from Ground Zero through the tunnel beneath the Hudson River, jittery, stubby pink fingers were straining against beet-red ears in his desperate attempt to mash in his earplugs.  Fully amped, he tousled a mop of strawberry-blond hair and began lip-syncing teen rage to a heavy-metal anthem.

Fellow commuters were jostled about the subway car as the train took a curve in darkness like a rollercoaster in a funhouse.  The teen joined his elders’ impromptu dance number, with gravity assuming the role of choreographer.  The sudden change in velocity was outpaced only by the youth’s music.  Rapid, jagged rhythms leaked from his earplugs, and he responded by banging his head against an invisible wall. 

On and on he hunkered in his solitary corner, silently cursing parental ghosts while another selection, with enough razor-sharp guitar lines to make one’s ears bleed, zipped away.  He was either cowering or storing up enough energy to explode at futility.

At the first stop in New Jersey, Exchange Place, the youngster stood up, blinked a few times, then bulleted out of the closing doors.  He dashed toward a broken home, trading one form of alienation – a crowded subway car of strangers – for another.

All that remained in his abandoned corner was intense heat.  That and the specter of his white-hot fury against a poster backdrop of two gray American flags.


Copyright © 2002 By Chantale Reve


One Response to “All-American”

  1. Good Info! Was searching Bing and found your site.

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