SHORT STORY CORNER: 8:25
Last Updated on Sunday, 20 January 2013 22:51
It’s 8:09. The Subway comes at what time? 8:10. And then not again until 8:25. Perfect. I’m going to be late to work again. Two days in a row and Jake is absolutely not going to be happy with me.I hear the blare of the train coming as I walk down the stairs to the station. No way I’m going to make this one. I curse that extra five minutes of sleep I gave myself this morning.
I swipe my creased old Metro card at the turnstile. Well, at least I’ll have a few minutes to finish my breakfast.
I take my half-eaten cranberry muffin out of my bag and pick at it idly while I walk over to the farthest end of the platform. This way I’ll be closer to the exit once I get off at my stop and hopefully not be as late to work as I already am.
8:14? 8:15? There are just so many things to do today. Meeting with Professor Fortuna. Class presentation right after that. Study for that giant exam. Get to the bank for grocery money. Pick up the dry cleaning by five at the latest. Buy an anniversary gift for Sam. That grad school application essay that I’ve been putting aside for weeks. I’m running through the list in my head as I take in the view of people around me. A man with his small daughter, who is tugging on his hand trying to get his attention. A girl who looks a little younger than me but definitely more frazzled. An older homeless man chattering enthusiastically to himself.
I watch a rat scurrying along the tracks. It’s not so crowded this morning.
8:20 And then it gets loud. A young couple walks in and my God can they argue. This asshole is screaming at this poor woman. I look at the little girl with her father, and she’s covering her ears with her hands. I wish I could do the same.
Of course they are walking near me; I just can’t catch a break this morning.
Then I realize. I see the terror in the woman’s face. This couple is not a couple at all. I see him swipe at her as they reach me. I step in the way. It’s 8:23 as I lose track of time and feel a hard shove against my back.
My hands are scraped and black with dirt. I breathe in an awful smell. There’s screaming and footsteps. What is happening?
A rat scurries past me and into a crevice between the tracks. I look up and lock eyes with the homeless man. He isn’t making a sound.
It’s 8:25 and I hear the train.