The District Line pt. 1

4:27 p.m.

I jump on the train, at the last second, a rush of relief as the doors shut seconds after me. There’s a girl sitting on the single seat, her shoulder pressed against the glass partition. It looks like her. Fear licks at my throat. We make awkward eye contact, mild surprised discomfort on her face. She looked like Faye, for a split second, before her hair dulled and I realized her eyes are blue. But why would it be her, it’s not her, Faye wouldn’t be here. I wanted it to be her. I sit at the opposite side of the train, slumping in the green and blue chair. I open my book, I wanted it to be her, I bite my lip.

8:52 p.m.

Everyone’s houses look nice from the train, slightly above window level. We used to make up stories about the people who lived inside. What the young man was dancing too, so violently. What the family of six was eating for dinner. If the thirty-something was lying on her daughter’s bed, or genuinely liked hot pink floral bedspreads. Once, a middle-aged woman overheard Faye and I speculating about these strangers. She told us we were being intrusive, and that we shouldn’t be so judgmental. Faye said the same thing back to her. We were laughing as we stumbled off the train, my cheeks red from the embarrassment of standing next to the girl yelling at someone on the train. Faye said maybe if the woman got laid, she wouldn’t be so grumpy.

10:03 a.m.

I like the trains this time of day. It’s only inhabitants are glum faced commuters who are late for the third time this week and young mothers with chubby babies who always smile back and thank me when I retrieve a teddy bear that fell too far from their reach. Faye and I used to ride these trains, mid-morning, with thermoses of coffee drowned in milk and sugar. We used to ride to the end of the line on weekdays, when our apartments got too small and it was raining, and wander around neighborhoods no one ever means to be in. They were desolate destinations for everyone but Faye.

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