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Uploaded by jenonthelake on Apr 30, 2001

For a long time, I saw her almost every day on the train. Her gravely voice would prompt me to look up and then quickly look down. Sometimes, she would appear as I gazed aimlessly at the doors that adjoin the cars of the train. She would enter, look around, smile faintly and then introduce herself. Her name is Marion. She is homeless. But no, she doesn’t steal and never has in her life. She is down on her luck and needs help. And can we please help her? A dime, a nickel, anything. In fact, she would be happy with food. No, she doesn’t do drugs and would be so grateful for any kind soul who would help. Always that very same speech with that same plastic cheerfulness.

She would make her way slowly through the train car, patiently when it was almost empty, and excusing herself to those who were already shrinking away from her, when it was crowded. She would stop sometimes and peer into the face closest to her with a deep imploration in her eyes. When it was my face, I would look down discreetly, sometimes placing wrinkled bills into her dirty, wrinkled palm. She would thank and bless me profusely, I would dismiss her by staring at my hands with an embarrassment I couldn’t explain. I didn’t want her attention. I didn’t want her to look at me or thank me. I wanted her to not exist. I didn’t want to wonder if she was a mother or a part of family or how she ended up in her sad journey walking through the rumbling cars of New York City’s trains.

She would move on to another uncomfortable face, another one that ignored her. Some would say a casual, “No.” Almost as if she had asked if they knew the time. She would simply move on. When she had been ignored by enough faces, she would stand close to the doors adjoining the trains, nod slowly and then walk through.

I saw her one day in the bathroom of the Long Island Ferry Station. I stood to the side, waiting for a free stall. She walked in and sneezed several times. She had an almost confused expression, staring at the wall and then the floor and then me for a little while before walking up to the garbage can. I was very surprised, so removed she...

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Uploaded by:   jenonthelake

Date:   04/30/2001

Category:   Creative Writing

Length:   4 pages (969 words)

Views:   1323

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