by Guest Contributor Joseph Shahadi, also published at VSthePomegranate
A few months ago, I got into a fistfight on the subway.
I was coming home from work and it was packed. There was this gawky twelve year old kid standing nearby. I’d noticed him earlier in the ride clowning around with a friend: Skinny kid, all fingers and toes, awash in the dorkiness of an actual pre-teen who does not have his own show on the Disney channel. I was tired and spacing out when the door slid open and people shifted to get off. The kid made a move for the door but I had a few stops left so I twisted out of the way to let him exit but instead of moving forward he just stood there, blinking and stammering. Just as I was asking him, “are you getting off?” someone behind me gave me a hard shove out of the way. I fell forward, the guy walked around me, and out the door…but not before I gave him a hard shove back.
Then he whirled around and sucker punched me in the face.
In retrospect, the dorky kid was probably paralyzed because he could see past me to the impatient guy who, it turns out was big. Very big. But I didn’t really have time to process any of that in the moment because when he punched me I saw red and…do you remember how Garfield the cartoon cat used to sail through the air to throw himself on to a cartoon lasagna? I did that. “Hello,” said my lizard brain, “I will be taking it from here.” Impatient guy was surprised. The people around us, who were streaming off of the subway, were surprised. Hell, I surprised myself. We stumbled out on to the subway platform as New York commuters, disinterested but ready to move away in case one of us pulled out a weapon, watched blankly.
For some reason, this is the part of the story where everyone wants to know if the guy was black. Read the Post Look Twice