By Anna Marie
He sat on the unsupportive plastic chair, feet restless beneath him as he gazed about the car. His eyes were transfixed on his own knees, he dared not look away. The subway car squealed to a halt – Thurman Avenue – and the crowds worked their way in and out, finding spaces to stand and poles to grasp. He began to tap his feet, anxiety welling up inside of him. The car throbbed with life, the swell of the collective heat fluttering his way. The chattering of teenagers burst through the car, overwhelming the sound of the screeching of the train car on its tracks.
He looked up, finding a tiny elderly woman clutching tragically to a pole in front of him. She looked incredibly frail as the car swung her back and forth. Her bags hung loosely from her minuscule wrists, straps cutting into her loose flesh. Dotted on lipstick smudges ached their way across her worn lips. Her clogs scuttled across the linoleum as she struggled to hold her balance.
“Ma’am, would you like my seat?” he finally mustered, nearly shouting.
“Why thank you, son. How kind of you.”
He stood up, shakily, and helped her into the seat. He smiled at her, an uncomfortable grin. Leaning against the pole, eyes fixed on his sneakers, the lights from the tunnels illuminated the concern in his face. The shadows from the underground were playing games on the walls of the subway car as it careened its way to the next stop. Suddenly and abruptly, they arrived with a lurch.
- Walton Street –
More faces entering, more faces departing. The car pulsed with life. The doors closed automatically and the train sped off heading further south into Chesterfield. His patience was dwindling as they closed in on his stop. Anxiety was consuming him. He couldn’t stand motionless; his back rocked and his head bobbed. His thoughts scrambled through him, in every direction. The car eased its way to a stop.
- Marlton Square –
His stop. He exited, sneakers trudging over the concrete as he made his way to the stairs. The bane of his life secured firmly in his pants pocket.