As I’m standing on the platform, waiting for the C-train, a cute boy walking by. He looks familiar, but I can’t place him. Before I can figure it out, he stops and looks at me.
“Hey, how are you man?”
“I’m good and you?”
“Can’t complain, life is good.”
We chat for ten minutes. He knows everything about me, my name, what I do for a living, where I’m from. This is no stranger. Yet somehow I’ve managed to completely erase this person from my memory. This has happened before. I'm bad with names and faces. So, I do what I always do. I fake it.
By now I have it down to a science. Bombard them with the most generic questions possible and hope that at some point they’ll blink, divulge that once piece of information that solves the puzzle.
“So how’s work?” I ask. A safe bet. Most people (at least in Manhattan) are employed otherwise they can’t pay rent and thus are forced to move.
“How’s life treating you?” I go on.
“Going home for the holidays?” Can’t go wrong with that one. No one's actually from here.
But for some reason it’s not working this time. I go through all my boring, non-committal inquiries before I resort to the one question I hate the most. But at this point I have no choice, I’m about to get busted.
“So what’s new?” I ask, trying not to vomit over my own words.
“Evan and I just bought a house, it’s been crazy but we’re happy.”
Thank God. Okay, boyfriend named Evan. Come on, who do I know named Evan? For fuck’s sake! Nothing. Not a clue. How can this be? I try concentrating without being too obvious. I shuffle through all the Evans I know. No ring, no bells.
At this point I give up. I make a mental note to schedule an appointment with my doctor, not that I’ll remember that either. Flashes of a bleak future come to mind, images of an old, wrinkled man running around the house in his underwear, peeing in the sink, trying to figure out why the goddamn toilet won’t flush.
The boy in front of me keeps talking, I nod, pretend to listen, but all I can think of is, “Who the fuck is Evan?”
Finally, Penn Station.
“So nice bumping into you.” He says as he steps off the train.
“Likewise. Oh, and give a big kiss to Evan for me.” Whoever that is.