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On the Subway

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Apr. 25th, 2006 | 08:47 pm
posted by: eldonkeyo in les_cannettes

On the Subway

There was chill in the subway station as a gust of wind issued from the tunnel. On the platform a few desolate travelers gazed into the dark mouth from which they hoped a train would emerge. From an unknown source in the shadows came a low melody that enchanted the desolate urban halls and slowly persuaded the toes of the crowd to tap. In the benches along the wall women with heavy lines on their face from a long day’s work sat where they collapsed upon their arrival, and a few men in suits perused their freshly purchased newspapers. And beyond the turnstiles in his authoritarian castle of glass a man wearing a blue city uniform peered out over his domain as he folded his hands in his lap and resettled in his chair waiting for a tourist, unfamiliar with the subway, to stumble forward to ask his assistance.

Every head turned towards the tracks as their vibration announced the forthcoming train. The tracks began to rattle and the air began to rush through the station as the train roared into the station.

At least half a dozen travelers pushed their way from the train as the crowd in the station shoved its way on. In the train passengers crumbled into chairs or resigned themselves to standing in the aisle gripping the metal poles supplied. Over the loudspeaker came a voice that warned the passengers of their proximity to the closing doors.
By the time the train operator has finished her announcement the doors have closed. The train has started to move; the tourists who are standing near the doors stumble as the train lurches forward. The train clicks against the tracks and barrels from the dim light of the station into the darkness of the tunnel.

The tapping of the train against the rails becomes faster, and the electric motor grows louder as the train plunges into the passageway. Out side the window the bustle of the station moves farther away, and then vanishes abruptly. The lights and forms of the subway blur together into streaks and flashes; they lose their distinct qualities and become unfamiliar and rush past outside the train, traveling a few blocks, like stars outside a space traveling-vessel, leaping through universes.

Suddenly from the chaos outside a window emerges, hanging suspended like a painting on a formless wall, through which is visible an identical subway car with identical passengers; the men in suits, the exhausted women, the stumbling tourists all float within this window. Just as suddenly this window submerges itself again in formlessness and the train slows and screeches to a halt. It has arrived.

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