I’ve been terrible about Hurling Words, writing too much for corporate America to concentrate on my own thoughts. Damn if I am falling into a rat race trap here. (I should mention that my language may reflect the amount of Westerns I’ve been watching lately).
That being said, I had a Missed Connections experience recently, and I thought it would be an excellent way to return to your good graces if I shared it with all you kind people out there.
Let’s begin the story – Once upon a time…
It was a Saturday night in Williamsburg. It was a night of New York coincidence, warm bars, and loud music, but that’s not really what our tale’s about. This one starts at the end. Because, you see, I was on-my-way-home. Which meant walking arm in arm with just the loveliest ladyfriend a girl could have and being assaulted by foul subway graffiti.
The platform was full of leather and plaid and over-sized glasses for heroin-chic faces. And luck was on our side, we had no more than four minutes to wait for the train. Funny how a little liquid courage can make time just fly on by, like it’s late for a party. Headlights rounded the corner and the L train charged forward, the last car coming to a standstill in front of us.
Our poor spot of choice ended damn smack in the middle of two sets of doors. Commuters will recognize our subsequent position in front of the doors as the “Oh, sorry, let me – are you getting off? I’ll move – oh goodness, the door is – let me just -” and awkwardness aside, it is prime for accidental elbow jutting and toe treading.
We jawed and guffawed through a few stops, letting the train clear around us, eyeballing the other occupants, maybe eavesdropping on a topic or two – then clear across the other side of the car, who should I spot?
“Hey, turn around slowly, Willem Dafoe is on our train.” She craned in response,
“He looks just like him.” A little taller maybe, younger certainly, with a red bandana that spoke of Platoon. But that hair, those cheek bones.
“That could be his son!” My eyes continued to flick to him for the rest of the ride. The doors chimed open to our area of East-east-east-eastest-east-Williamsburg. I side eyed Willem to see his plan.
He stepped off the train and turned left.
We went right.
“He got off at our stop. HE-GOT-OFF-AT-OUR-STOP.”
I stumbled home and exchanged my layers for the comfort of pajamas. As I am a 21st century girl, I lay back on my pillows, laptop in hand and it came to me.
I dragged the cursor to that anonymous hot spot of internet hot spots.
Willem Dafoe on the L Train – w4m 26
I think I saw you on the L train tonight, Willem Dafoe.
You might’ve just been a kid in a red bandanna.
But I’m pretty sure it was you, Willem Dafoe. Then you got off at my stop. Damn, Willem Dafoe, whatchu doin’ in Bushwick?!
Laptop safely tucked away, I fell into the heavy sleep of a Saturday night well spent.
As this was my first Missed Connection posting, I naively assumed that that was that.
The responses began to trickle in a day or two later. April wanted me to clarify if I truly was a woman seeking a man (she couldn’t know that it was so much more than that, could she?), and Dante needed to know the exact location of this supposed Willem Dafoe doppelganger – or maybe just where I lived. His message was brief, and so his motives suspect.
Then there was Kings, who just wanted my body to sing for him. Because, you see, he wanted to play me like an instrument. But I was not to be played.
Lastly, the elusive Patrick, who only emailed me to say: “I know who you are looking for.” But if he did know, he wasn’t talking.
Then, nothing. I joked about the experience at after work happy hours and cafeteria lunches, but as with most memories in the making, the immediacy of it all fell away. I forgot to even think of it.
Fast forward a year in the wild wild west of the internet. Or, in the real world, ten days later.
Sitting at a friend’s, waiting to start my french toast project, I idly hit the mail button on my phone as I am wont to do.
Downloading 1 of 2…
Downloading 2 of 2…
At the top:
oedwotd subject “muggy, adj./2” – Word of the Day from the OED
But below that! Fate had intervened!
Jesse **** subject hey it’s willem dafoe jr.
my friend in chicago came across your craigslist post — ha i get that all the time. that’s so funny. only time i’ve ever worn a red bandanna. wasn’t i awesome in Platoon?
Could it really be him? I was raised during the height of web-paranoia. I knew better than to trust a stranger ON THE INTERNET.
So, I found him on Facebook.
Friends, readers, it was him. It was my L-Train Willem Dafoe. How did he find me? Why was his friend in Chicago searching through Brooklyn Missed Connections? Was Peter his friend?
I’ll never know the answers to these questions. I replied, exclamation points abound,
“Willem Dafoe, you just made my day!”
And that’s where I’ll leave it.