Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Train Ride Home

I was riding a crowded train on my way home which was schlepping along the tunnel at a sluggish speed.  Sometimes it would pick up momentum lurching forward in momentary spurts and then it would stop as if drained, only to resume the slow drag through the tunnel.  There weren’t any seats available and I stood for most of the ride. My imagination ran wild with images of a giant worm crawling on its belly while we rode in a metal box that was strapped to it.  Well, now that I think of it, the worm would’ve moved faster.

But then I started looking at the other riders and my gaze focused on a man who resembled a friend of mine.  I almost woke him up to say “hi!” and then in the next instant I realized that he only resembled my friend and wasn’t my friend at all.  So, I looked around some more and started to take notice of the people that were crowded by the doors.  These were young college age people talking and having a good time and completely heedless of the fact that we weren’t getting anywhere.  They were too perky and all that was missing was for them to start an impromptu song and dance routine a la Glee. They annoyed me and I thought “damn youngin’s”.

A moment later I forgot about the annoying twenty-somethings because my attention was caught by the woman in front of me.  She had to be in her early to mid fifties and I only say that because besides the fact that she looked like a mature older woman; she had the kind of short haircut that most older women get.  In addition to that, her hair was dyed a bit too black which didn’t camouflage the thinning section of hair on top of her head.  You have to understand that I’m tired from a long day at work and my commute is an hour and a half each way.  I didn’t get a seat, the train isn’t moving, my knees are hurting so I’m not entirely in the best of moods.

The train had stopped at a station, more passengers came in than left and I still didn’t have a seat.  The doors closed and the train picked up its miserable trek to the next station.  I looked at the woman who had begun to look inside her huge purse that could fit a Pomeranian and pulled out her keys.  The keys were in a tri-fold leather key case with rings which she opened, selected two keys one silver and one brass, snapped it closed and clutched it firmly in her hand.  I thought to myself, “she’s getting off at the next stop and I get to sit”. 

The train pulled in at the next station and the woman never got up to leave.  She fiddled with her keys with a nervous energy and looked about the train car.  We were in the tunnel by now; she couldn’t be looking out of the windows so I wondered what she was looking for.  She rubbed the keys and passed them from one hand to the other while glancing about the train.  I wondered if she was looking for someone but after glan,cing about, she would close her eyes and rest.  My imagination, activated once more, wondered if the woman thought she was being followed.

Another station came and went and this woman still didn’t leave the train.  She opened the enormous bag digging within its depths and pulled out her cell phone which she fiddled with for a while.  At the next station, she fidgeted in her seat and I figured “this is it”, but no.  She just adjusted her luggage-sized purse on her lap, opened it up really wide this time (I thought I was going to fall in) and pulled out her damn keys again.  I didn’t have nice thoughts about her after that.  Two stations later she finally left along with half the occupants of the train and I was finally able to sit down. 

 I was thinking that I should take the characteristics of this woman to create a character for one of my stories.  Or maybe I shouldn’t people watch because it just pisses me off to see all the stupid annoying things they do. Or perhaps, I’m still tired and moody.


  1. I continue to be impressed - your fiction is bold and creative but your observations are equally expressive & distinctive. We can see them (your fellow travelers) but better still, we can see you. As for seat/staller/key, you can use her in another story but she is already your character. Love it! Still moody - still jealous.

  2. Thanks Diva! I feel the love! Because of some errands I had to run today after work, I walked several blocks to get to the E train. Thankfully, I was able to sit down, plug into my iPod, and close my eyes while I listened to a medley of Goth, Rock and Symphonic Metal. The stress levels were greatly minimized.

  3. 5th paragraph 4th line, lol you put a comma in a word by mistake ! but i have rode the trains and thought i saw my friend and it wasnt them but i actually DID say HII and than they were like ?? so i told them ithought they were my friend lol & i got laughed at :b.

  4. Hi Anonymous,
    Wow! How did that happen? Even though you told me where it was, I had to read it twice before I saw it. Thanks, good looking out! I must have taken a mental pause in the middle of the word. LOL! Anyway, note to self: Next time use Spell-check! :o)