Untitled -- 1.16.2007

Short Stories

The girl stared out the subway window and watched the black nothingness go by.  She hunched down in her seat at the far end of the subway car, wrapping her arms as tightly as she could around herself and leaning her head against the cool window.  The subway train moved steadily on until it reached the stop at the end of the line.

The girl stayed where she was and no one took notice of her, for already there were other passengers entering the car.  The train started to move again and she settled back in her seat.  He would never find her if she kept moving.  The train was moving forward, she thought.  Even though it had just finished moving forward, and was now going the other way - it was still moving forward.  No matter what I do, what happens to me, my life will still keep moving forward, and me powerless to do anything.  

And yet she had done something.  She had left.  The sudden light as the train emerged outdoors startled her, at the same moment that her thoughts did.  She sat up in her seat.  I left, she thought.  And I'm not going back.  But where will I go?  Diane's family can't keep me forever.

Oh, bless Diane.  Diane had always taken her in whenever she needed to leave her house, always let her spend the night, given her a meal, whatever she needed.  But most importantly she had loved her.  Diane was her only friend at school.  Not many people liked her because she was quiet, and much better at painting than any of the others in her class.  How grateful she was to have Diane!

Diane's mother never asked any questions, never presumed to know anything.  She was just always there, always willing, always had her doors open for her.  And Diane's father was great too.  He'd always joke and ask her if she would remember them when she was a famous artist.  She allowed herself a small smile at the memory.

Oh, that luck would have Diane and her family out of town this weekend!  It was only Saturday afternoon; they would be back tomorrow - but what was she to do until then?

She looked up at the people that shared her car.  There was a little boy kneeling on one of the seats near her, looking out of the window at the always-moving but never-changing dark wall outside the train.  He seemed lost in thought.  The girl beside him pulled him down.  Girl?  She loked at her again, realizing that that was the boys mother.  But she can't be that much older than me!, she thought.

"Sit down, kid!", she scolded him and held on to both arms of the squirming body.  "But mommy –"  "Sit down!" she yelled in his face and the boy quieted.  He couldn't have been more than three years old… and yet the look in those eyes was ancient.  How I would love to paint him, she thought.  She cringed at the thought of painting, the vivid image of her latest piece of work lying on her bedroom floor, covered with the ink of spilled paints...

She couldn't think anymore.  She wanted so badly to sleep.  So she closed her eyes and held her bag close to her, trying to get comfortable in her seat.  She winced as her movements caused the bruise on her arm pain.

The sound of the train moving along the tracks lulled her into a semi-concious state, and before she knew it she was asleep.

               *            *             *

The girl woke several hours later, her neck cramped from leaning against the window for so long.  She looked around her, disoriented.  What time was it?  She waited until the train stopped a few stations later, at a place she knew.  She walked over to a pay phone and checked the time.  Midnight already?  She thought with a start.  She then realized that she was hungry, and very, very thirsty.  She opened her bag and felt along the bottom for change.  She had just enough change to get herself either something to drink or eat, not both.  She decided on a drink; she'd probably need it during the hot summer night.  

She stepped outside the station and crossed the street to the seven eleven and bought herself a bottle of water.  She took a sip of it, aware that she needed it to last her.  As she walked out of the store a middle aged woman stepped up to her.  "Spare some change, please."  The girl shook her head and mumbled an apology, and kept on walking.  The woman was unfazed and repeated the same thing to the next person coming out.

She walked on, making her way to the ravine where she planned to spend the night.  It was so big and there were so many places for one to go, she need not worry about the police or someone else finding her and bringing her back home.

She went down the path and walked to where the bridge was, and settled down under it.  She could hear the cars moving by above her, far away.  Otherwise the night was very still around her.  The wind barely moved the leaves in the trees.  The ground underneath her was cool and hard.  She heard the mosquitoes whizzing by her ear, and prayed that she wouldn't have too many bites when she woke up.

Her thoughts flipped back to the girl her age, her little boy, and the woman she had encountered.  All of them, they were all alone, in their own way.  That woman, she didn't have a home.  The little boy, living with the girl who was his mother, who didn't know how to take care of him, didn't have a home.  His mother, living on her own and so young, didn't have a home.  She herself didn't have a home, not a real one, not somewhere where she was loved.  Maybe everyone is like that, she thought.  Maybe we're all homeless and lonely inside and we just don’t know it.  She looked around her at the darkness one last time before closing her eyes for sleep.  Tomorrow would be another day, after all.

Author's Notes/Comments: 

written in 2003

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