The Subway Stop

She waited patiently, standing on the concrete floor, her back pressed against the cool tiled wall. People were arriving down the escalator and lining up along the tracks.  Several minutes passed before the train arrived.  She scanned the passengers exiting from the doors of the subway car until she finally found him. Today he wore a dark grey suit.  His navy blue tie with a faint blue stripe lay flat against his crisp white shirt.  A worn leather bag was slung across his body.  She focused on his face and smiled. He looked healthy. She watched as he made his way among the crowd toward the escalator and then watched him move confidently on to the first stair, his back held straight, his head tilted up taking in the people and space before him.  When he eventually disappeared from her view, she gathered her bags and slowly and carefully made her way towards the escalator, her eyes fixed on the ground, carefully avoiding accidentally brushing up against any of the people waiting to catch the next train.

Each week day she returned to the same spot, waiting to catch a brief glimpse of him.  She had maintained this ritual for three years.  In all that time, she had not once approached him, she simply watched.  Every time she saw him, her heart swelled with momentary joy and as he disappeared at the top among the throngs of people, the overwhelming despair shoved joy out and reclaimed her heart.   She returned each weekday so that she could experience that momentary lightness.  The weekends and holidays without him were overwhelmingly dark.

He looked for her again today but he didn’t see her.  It had been three days since he last saw her standing silently against the wall watching for him.  She had been there every morning at his stop for the past three years.  When he first saw her there he had tried to approach her, to talk to her but she had cowered against the wall, frightened and small. On other occasions, she ran away before he reached her.  His repeated attempts to somehow connect with her only served to frighten her more and create a greater distance between them.  After a while, he stopped trying to impose his need for her and accepted that all she could tolerate was the brief connection of shared space across the subway platform.  The anger had long ago dissipated, replaced with a heart breaking sadness for all that he had lost, that they had both lost.

Her repeated absence from the spot where he expected to see her each morning shattered him in a way that he didn’t think was still possible. It was finally on the fifth day of her absence that he received the call confirming what he already knew, what he had known for the past three years.  She was gone and would never return.

I’ve started a creative writing course and this is my submission for my first assignment.  Let me know your thoughts – any and all constructive feedback is welcome.  🙂

 

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