Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Jealousy 3

Thinking of Wollensky’s has brought me back to reality. I feel the cold cement under me and I shiver. I stand up, breathing in small hiccups, much like an infant who has been sobbing. I wipe at my face as I pass through the turn-style. The guard looks at me sympathetically. I have never enjoyed receiving sympathy from others. It has always been a shallow emotion; one that reeked of pity and false understanding. “What?” I scream at him spreading my arms wide in irritation. “You’ve never seen a girl cry? Am I that unique?” He turns his back on me, shaking his head. It doesn’t register that his sympathy has turned into pity.

As I wait for the Red Line train, I close my eyes against the many people on the platform who are dressed up to go out for the night. It is not so easy to escape their incessant happy chatter. I toe the yellow safety line that warns of danger just on the other side. In my misery, I toy with the idea of stepping over it and falling onto the tracks. It’s crowded and if I bump into someone, I could make it look like an accident.

A small smile crosses my lips. Rock bottom is a hard place and I don’t want to go there. My life is in shambles right now, but suicide is a too extreme. Another tear cascades down my cheeks and splashes on the back of my hand. I can hear the tell tale rumble of an approaching train. I just hope it is the Red Line. It rushes by me, creating a brief wind tunnel as it squeals to a stop. I can hear the doors slide open and the jostling sounds of people trying to move in two different directions at once.

I take a deep breath, sighing heavily as I open my eyes and make my way on to the train. It is more crowded than the platform was. I want to sit down, to disappear among the passengers, but finding a seat will be nearly impossible. I take another deep breath and act like an experienced Chicagoan, pushing my way past people until I find an open seat. I slump down into without looking at the people on either side of me.

The train pulls out immediately and I find myself pinched between a very drunk college kid and a fairly obese woman eating a Ding Dong. The kid looks at me. His breath is rancid. He smiles and slurs out a greeting. I am disgusted. I look at him with disbelief and turn to look out the windows across the aisle. The ride, as usual, is rough. We are all bumped up and down and around, like little rag dolls. And just as quickly, the wheels squeal and we come to an abrupt stop. I am pinched again.

We are at Lake Street, a popular stop with all of the transfers, and the 4 seats across from me empty of tourists. They are replaced by a young couple, clearly new to one another. I watch them. They are flirting, touching, teasing, laughing. I am reminded of John and the bitch he was with… probably is still with. I inhale sharply. Misery sinks in a little deeper. “What am I going to do?” I say, pleading with myself for an answer and more tears fall down my face.

“Here honey, “ says the obese woman next to me. She and her three chins are looking at me. She hands me an unopened package of Ho-Ho’s. “You need this comfort food more than I do.” I take it, unthinking. The train lurches off and she goes back to her Ding Dong. I can see a small chunk of chocolate frosting and dry cake sitting on a fold of her paisley shirt. I don’t say anything and turn to look the other way.

Bad timing. My drunk seat mate is looking right at me. His breath is worse than before. I’m not sure how it is possible, but I can swear to it. “So” he says, “rough day at the office?” Or at least that is what I think he says. I look at him coldly. “Something like that.”

I look at the sign. I have six more stops before Addison. It will be about another 15 minutes before I can escape. The train stops again. With difficulty, the woman next to me stands up. She places a hand on my knee and taps it affectionately. There is sympathy in her eyes. I clench my fist to keep from yelling at her and hear the crumpling of the plastic Ho Ho wrapper. I close my eyes and lay my head back against the window without checking on the cakes. They are smashed.

This is funny to my drunken buddy. His laugh is rough. And it is followed by “Oh my God John!” from the couple across the aisle.


  1. I can't wait for the next installment. You have me hooked. Which is a good thing!

  2. the images with her sandwiched between those two people are amazing. I can see, hear, smell eveything around Jane.

    What's next? Can't wait.

  3. Love the nitty gritty feel to this. It's not a pleasant situation and you don't hold anything back in describing it. Very nicely done.