These are not my usual observations about the regulars that I encounter on the train–these are snippets of stories based on observations, fleeting thoughts, or other little things I’ve been compelled to “write” while commuting (by “write,” I mean text to myself and save in my drafts until I had a chance to do something with them…)
These are rough, scrappy little blurbs, so take them for what they’re worth…
And there is Trudy, with her comfortable shoes and hooked nose. She is the perfect daughter, the most devout Catholic: Never misses Mass, never misses a pot luck; goes to confession every Friday. But in all her times kneeling before that screen, before God, and even Father Michael, there is one secret that she has not confessed, that her heart knows to be true, even if her mind is not willing to accept it: She would give anything–anything–not to be the woman who is depended on for her potato salad. She would rather be the woman who wears the mysterious, musky perfume that lingers in the nostrils of other women’s husbands, never remembered for her cooking–with something finally to confess.
What happens in that moment after two people embrace and get in their cars, continuing life again without the other person? Those thoughts that come after the papers are shuffled from the driver’s seat to the passenger’s and the radio dials are adjusted–the ones closest to a time that has already passed, unadulterated by questions, like: “Was I really happy?” “What was hidden behind her smile?”
Until then, there is satisfaction. There is whole-hearted knowing. There is truth. Or, at least they are there, inside that moment.
They put the wall up so the people don’t jump, but is it because they don’t want the people to jump or because they don’t want to deal with the aftermath?
I’d imagine that to someone willing to throw their body against the tracks, to someone willing to let the metal and steel and electricity cut and mangle and tear them apart, the wall is just a minor setback to their plans. What’s one more wall, anyway?
If I were them, if they were me, I would almost expect that kind of obstacle. I would anticipate it. I would revel in the irony and the cliche as I fought my last uphill battle, clawing my way atop of the concrete mass that stood between me and It–and once I got there, once I finally made it, I would pause and breathe in the last few moments of quiet as the faint sound of the train clickclickclicking steadily, inevitably, along grew louder. And after jumping, in those split seconds before falling commenced, I would pretend that the metal and the steel and the electricity had already transformed me, and I was soaring.