six word story
I took the 7:18 train to Union station. While I meant to catch the 7:32 train, I happened to make the earlier one due to the fortunate lack of chaos along the typical congested intersections along the way to the station. Perhaps because the local schools were cancelled, or maybe because it felt as if it was below thirty and no one dared to travel about when it felt as cold in Centigrade as it did Fahrenheit. Yet I was one of the few who felt confident enough the bear the winds that blindly cut you in half in multiple pairs of tights underneath jeans and three heavy cable knit sweaters with my coat.
All I carried with me was a notebook, a pen, a library book, and a thermos of chai tea. And on the train I went, among men and women with leather satchels and polyester messenger bags and worn purses and aluminum suitcases and chunky laptops and titanium smartphones and cracked music players and canvas backpacks. Together they composed this massive collection of the typical rush hour folk who obeyed the signs on the ‘quiet car’. Despite the amount of people that filled each train car (to the point where passengers rode their way to Chicago in the aisles), you could have convinced me that the train was empty. Easily.
As soon as you could see buildings breaking against the sharp blue of the sky, people began to make their ways to the doors. Then all at once hundreds or maybe even thousands of people emptied train cars. I searched for some other train along the tracks to see were all the masses of people were coming from, but they too got off from the same train I stepped onto. These people before me, behind me, and beside me all exited from the very same silvery gray piece of metal that we both inhabited for the past forty minutes. We breathed the same air filled with the smell asiago bagels, heavily caffeinated lattes, and cologne for the price of a month’s bagels and lattes mixed in with perfume for the price of a day’s coffee and bread. We experienced these moments together while ignorant of each other’s existence.
And. That. Fazed. No. One. This was just another typical weekday morning for them. Another massive crowd of faces they never even bothered to look at. They stepped off the train to form a collection of glass marbles that were all rolling downhill to quickly to capture the essence of their beauty. Among them I felt as if I was apart yet so distant from them all. Like an uncooperative variable from Thursday’s math problem. It was as if we were a massive trail of mourners part of some great funeral procession all grieving the same way but all for different reasons. But no one would lift their heads up enough for you to catch a glimpse of their sadness.
The quality that is most unique to the human character is the desire to exist beyond ourselves. That’s all we ever truly wish to achieve out of life. Being beyond ourselves. Through claimed master pieces of art. A new scientific theory. A revolutionary movement documented in history. The children began with 23 of our chromosomes. The memories in photographs and diary entries. The seeds we planted that flowered ideas. We hope for our bodies the crumble into stardust scattering to places we never even existed. Beyond. Beyond. Beyond.
This is a moment. A moment where we decided to share the only thing that ever has been, or ever will be ours— our lives.
I never realized the beauty of another’s company until recently. A mix of silence and color. White and noise.
I think peope come in colors. Fuchsia. Freshly mown grass. The murky brown on a painter’s mixing plate. And in between gray. A midnight purple.
And I think we paint our bodies with all the people we fall in love with.
It’s all washable, but I like to let the paint crease and crack, letting it fall in flakes in every place I ever go.
In the past two years
I’ve only ever caught glimpses of you:
across an office supply parking long,
in the cereal aisle of our local grocery store,
in passing at union station.
All I know is that you still chew on your pencils,
you still prefer the same processed, high fructose corn syrup cereal
over the granola I made you try once,
and that you still go to every new exhibition the science museum puts up.
Other than that,
you’re just a stranger.
The person who knew my favorite dairy substitute,
my very unconventional way of lacing up my skates,
my list of excuses for leaving a party I didn’t want to be at,
that person is now a stranger.
A stranger who doesn’t know that I lost my favorite pen last week,
or that I was given a bird by Amelia for my birthday last year,
or that I sleep with my socks on, now that the bed is a lot colder.
And I don’t know how happy you are,
or if you finally got rid of your torn green sweater,
or if you still call your mother every Tuesday morning.
It’s strange how the person I was most vulnerable with doesn’t know who I love or why I laugh.
Everything felt so long and sweet,
but it all now seems so distant and ephemeral.
And I’m saddened by the idea
that the people we once loved
become foreigners to our heart.
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