In the Heart of the Heart of In Rainbows

By Scott B. 

I'm an amazing husband, which is why I found myself waiting for my wife at the Atlantic Terminal, umbrella in hand as a cudgel against the gathering clouds. We had a general time to meet, nothing specific, but I thought I'd text her anyway to see if she was above ground yet. That's when I heard the voice.

The words themselves were scraps of dialogue from unwritten plays. They were the faint hisses of scattered genetic code sliding across wooden floors and reassembling hastily in corner piles, forming Tristan Tzara poems. And the sound of the voice made even less sense. It was uncomfortably human, and incredibly performative. The equation was complicated but the answer simple: this was a crazy woman trying to talk "normal". I didn't even have to look up from my phone.

"You came here to make a phone call?"
"Yes, I came to the subway to make a phone call..."

I looked at her now. She was wearing the uniform of the female homeless. A stocking cap and large coat. She had a Jamaican accent that when i try to replicate now comes out as sounding like an incredibly exotic Irish Brogue.

"Who you calling?"
"My wife."
"Give me some of her money."
"What? No."
"Why not?"
"I just got out of the Army. I don't have any."
"Well then to hell with you and to hell with the motherfucking Army..."
"I agree with at least half of that."

An awkward silence. Our conversation had hit an impasse, and for a moment I was worried that she had grown bored with me.

"Take my hat," she decided suddenly, removing it from her head.
"No, no. But thank you."
"Put it on your umbrella then," she reached out in order to slide the hat over my umbrella handle. I pulled back.
"Make it look more human."
"No, sorry. I have to go now."

And I left. But not without appreciating that this woman very well could have replace Thom Yorke as, if not the singer, then at least the lyricist for Radiohead.

My wife arrived. As we walked home the clouds eventually loosened and broke apart before they disappeared. I looked at my umbrella, and even without a hat it looked a little more human.


  1. i really enjoyed hearing this story in person, but i think i enjoyed it even more in written form. i got a little choked up at the end.

  2. I think the nazis made some umbrellas that looked sort of human.

    I enjoyed this.

  3. This is awesome. It brings a new dimension to OYIT.