Flash Fiction-Train Ride

The train was crowded for midday on a Tuesday. The man next to me already smelled of alcohol, and was barely able to stand. He kept bumping into me. I just wanted to get back to my apartment. My stomach turned, an anxious sick had rolled over me in waves since leaving the office. As i got on the train i still had traces of the pride i felt leaving my house a few hours ago. Now it had all but floated away.

The man had fallen asleep leaning on the bar and was starting to press against me. I was tempted to give him a harsh nudge, jar him awake. He was starting to frustrate me. I normally have patience for this sort of thing but not today. Not so early, not so soon after such awful news. I just tried to breathe through my nose. Clear my head the best i can. When i get to my apartment i can have a glass of wine and meditate on my next move. I’ve been under similar circumstance. Not all that recently but this has happened before.

Things had been going so well too. I had been able to finally afford my own apartment. No more renting a room. The peace was wonderful. And the responsibility was comforting in a sense. I had finally been able to do most of my grocery shopping at the local farmers market. Now everything is up in the air.

An odd feeling was lingering about for the last month but tried to push it to back of my head. After all, i had been excelling at the office. Turning everything in on time, coming in early. I even kept from making my usual mistakes. The nitpicking, i thought, was just due to my being new to this company. My experience spoke for itself, i was more than qualified. Yet they still would find little things, and  try to get me to do more when i wasn’t in the office.

Maybe i shouldn’t have asked for a raise. I don’t know. I feel as if they let me go for personal reasons. I never did like the owner much but i would try to engage in conversation whenever i saw him. Was that it? Was it too forced? He was an odd guy, he did like to keep to himself. But is that reason to let someone go?

I feel worn down by myself. My lip starts to tremble. I have to regain my composure. After all i have a date tonight. The first in months, i can’t mess this up too. She is so lovely. She doesn’t know where i work or anything. She needs to see the confidence i had when i asked her.

Her name is May. She frequented the same coffee shop i did. We would make eye contact from time to time but i never acted on it. Always finding an excuse in getting to work on time. Last friday i went for it anyway. We exchanged a smile so i had to talk to her. We got to talking quick and found we had much in common. I asked her for a the drink next week, and she was eager to say yes. She was free Tuesday night. That was tonight.

My stop was coming up. I pushed past the clumsy drunk to stand by the door. He didn’t even notice. Who knows how long he had been on the train. I tried not think negatively of him. I could be him in a few months. I’m going to have to make it my job to get another job, and strictly budget. Well not today, I am taking May somewhere nice. I have to impress her.

The train stops and my legs feel a little weak but i just try take a deep breath. Everything was fine in the moment. I was given freedom. As the famous 19th century philosopher Soren Kierkegaard said, “anxiety is the dizziness of freedom”. As i stepped through the train  doors my head started spinning so fast that i ran to the trashcan to throw up.


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