Thursday, January 10, 2008
( 12:11 AM ) teahouse
The screech is loud and unrelenting, the worries of the day melting past. The doors rattle loudly. Train shoots through the tunnel, gathering speed. The view from the windows is pitch black. Under the river, hurtling forward.
The girls with large permed hair and matching bare midriffs smack gum and talk loudly. Excited and ready to party, they stand in the aisle and crowd the exit, ready to jump through the doors as soon as they open. Doing so betrays their inexperience. The regular riders know there's a long wait before the signal engages and the destination lurches out of the mouth of the tunnel to meet the train.
Doors slide open. A dark platform, grimy walls, concrete stairs leading up to another tunnel, and another train, another destination. Another jumpy ride. A familiar platform, a homeless man sings, brakes screech loudly.
Up the steep stairs, the sky yawns open to reveal twinkling stars, bright lights, tall buildings. Arch the back, throw up the mittened hands, breathe in the cool night air.
Murmurs as others scurry by, muffled and bundled against the cold. The smells of roasting peanuts, car exhaust, the hot dog cart, the snow melting, the taxis honking.