On The Metro

Throw a bunch of words in a hat, pull one out, and write a story using that word.

This week’s word: PASTE


Three miles, that’s all it is, three miles to the store. If she’d driven, she’d be home by now. But she didn’t; she took the train, the Metro, the rail line. It’s not much further and she saves on gas, saves the environment, plus she doesn’t have to deal with her car.

“Minorities take the Metro. Minorities and poor people,” she could hear her mother say, condescension raining down. And maybe that’s why she rides the Metro, to spite her parents, to not be racist, to counteract the above.

But, no, that’s not why. Truth be told, she just likes it. It’s simple as that, people don’t understand but she likes it, the rail lines, quiet and relaxing as she sits with the others, listening to conversations, feeling as one. Yes, she feels part of them, feels together and connected, eavesdropping on conversations, part of something, together as one.

Like right now, by the exit, an Asian girl chatting with mom. And two seats over, dressed in black, a teenage romance, flirting together, holding hands. These teenager lovers, they are strange ones, dressed in unison, all in black. But they’re not goth or emo, too refined for that, it’s like they’re waiters, or mourning a funeral. It’s a mystery, this teenage couple, flirting together, dressed in black. The next stop comes and off they go, forever a mystery, dressed in black.

One more stop and then it’s her’s, and she waits quietly, patient and alone. The cute girl, carrying her toothpaste and tampons, riding the Metro, heading home.

She continues to listen and behind her is talking, a conversation behind her, going strong. A conversation between strangers, it’s the craziest thing, two strangers on the Metro, conversing along. She’s a nanny and he works at Walgreens, used to be a roofer but switched out of that job. Roofing was fun but it’s also exhausting, so eventually you move on.

Yes, sometimes you must move on. Her stop goes by but she doesn’t get off, she stays, listening to the strangers as they continue on. Wisdom and life lessons from the roofer and nanny, for three more stops, then he gets off. And wouldn’t you know it, she gets off with him, the nanny, it’s not her stop but she’s going with him. A connection was made, right here on the Metro. All it took was one conversation, one hello to start a connection so strong. She wonders: could that happen to her? She wishes it could. Meet a stranger and make a connection, then no more will she have to be all alone.

She looks around but the train is empty, just the Asian mom with her daughter and there’s also two black guys, but there’s no prospects, nothing here, no one to say hello.

And so she gets off, passed her stop, and it’s time to go home. Home on the train, the opposite direction, back to her home. She waits at the station, her and her groceries, her toothpaste and tampons, nowhere to go, all alone. Waiting for the train, nothing to do, she waits at the station, all alone.

But no, it doesn’t have to be, she doesn’t have to forever be alone. The roofer and the nanny, they found each other, and she can do the same, the next train, four stops before she is home again. Four stops to say hello and to spark a connection, to talk to someone, anyone, so she won’t be alone. Here the train comes, towards her station, she can feel it, this one is special, this is the one.

She gets on and scans the crowd: it’s not too crowded but there are riders on board. Several riders and so that’s a dilemma: who should she choose, who is the one? Not the black guy, with his shaved head, he looks scary. No way, she doesn’t go after thugs. Maybe the businessman in his nice suit, but no, he’s probably too busy, doesn’t want to talk to anyone. There’s a Chinese girl but they barely speak English, can’t have a conversation with that one. And then there’s the families who don’t want to be bothered, and three more black guys who’ll just use her, plow her down and pass her around.

All that’s left is the white kid, preppy and clean, reading his book, sitting alone. And she can hear it now, her parents approval, white as vanilla and nothing to disrupt it, nothing to cause heartache, not a problem to be found. White and boring, plain and nothing, his only attribute is that her parents won’t frown. But that’s not enough, she wants more, so it’s no thanks to that one, no thanks to them all. There’s something wrong with everyone, always a reason for nothing to go on.  She takes her seat, by herself, alone, takes her seat on her way home. Just her and her groceries, her toothpaste and tampons, no one to talk to, for she is alone.


About Gabriel Bruskoff
I make movies! See gabrielbruskoff.com for more information.

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