The Girl on the Train (Flash Fiction)

[For@VinMcCarthy and his prompt]

I am standing on the train platform. My hands are stuffed deep in my pockets and I hope the crumpled pieces of paper in my pocket are 20s and not receipts that remind me that I spent way too many 20s and 10s and 5s last night. The L train zips past me, blowing smoke and a pungent smell that reminds me of the way my cat's butt smells after she, well, I don't need to think about it because I'm already smelling it and that's bad enough right now. So I stumble into the train car and wonder how long I have to sit on trains today. I am taking a train to Manhattan, to Grand Central, to Tarrytown. I wonder if I'll ever get home or if I'll ever get rid of the crushing pain in my head, the pain that feels like cars crashing into each other over and over again, the pain that's the only pain that we're willing to put ourselves over and over again because we lie to ourselves and say it's worth it. It's the pain Sisyphus feels every time he watches the boulder fall back down to ground zero. It's that kind of pain.

I am sitting on the train and that's when I see her. Her hair is buzzed down on one side and her tortoiseshell glasses fall crooked on her face and she's constantly trying to fix them. She sits across from me with an old copy of The Girl with Curious Hair and I wonder what she thinks about it. I ask her. She responds. She lays her bag flat against the seat next to her, it's stained with coffee or beer or something brown I'm not really interested in but I am interested in her. And it seems like she's interested in me. I sit down next to her. And she smiles, exposing crooked teeth and a yellowish tint that could only come from the smoking of cigarettes.

My head still hurts. It still has that pain that feels like an eternity. But I feel okay like the world finally stopped spinning, and it's all her fault.

i did all that i could.
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