Commuting In The Snow

Sarah Ackerman
Sarah Ackerman

All of our hands were gripped tight to something. Phones, poles, ourselves. I realized how much my hand began to hurt, holding on for balance letting the car move me around. Every stop and start was sudden, foreign legs learning to walk. Her hand, though, was flat. Balance against something. Just enough to save her life. Our life.

Her hands were pressed up against the window on the train. It was as though she was trying to reach for something. No one could really see anything through the fog, only a few lights blinking below. We were suspended, moving slowly in air. All of us completely quiet, looking past through the morning.

This woman, body against the glass. Gloved fingers with pressure, eyes determined to see. I don’t know what she was looking for, a commute across a bridge with cars inching by. Perhaps she was trying to make the floating lights into constellations. The ones in the sky are bare bones of pictures. Skeletons to make them any animal we want.

The snow fall became heavier, wet streets as cyclists passed us. What was magical in the air became dirty on the ground. Puddles of flakes, ice sticking to the sidewalk. She turned away once underground, no longer memorized by the weather. We could easily make out the lights down here. Red faces and scarfed necks headed patiently to work. Maybe she wanted her fingers to become the glass. Warm inside the cotton, showing all the wonder of what’s outside.

There is a saying, you only see what you want to see. The glass she became could be either hope or despair. Inside the fog could be anything, a wondrous paradise for those with light cracking through their hearts. It could also hold the demons, skeletons of pain, grey, the wolves hidden and tearing at your flesh.

I wonder what she saw, eyes up against the glass. If her lids felt heavy and the cool air shrunk them. Sore eyes for a grey day, lost in a city. Fog helped the concrete remain anonymous. The tired probability of seeing anyone here again. Her reflection was what startled me. Eyes looking past, I tried my best not to stare. It occurred to me she may be trying to escape. Packed tight in the space, unsure of the others in her presence. She had the glass to hold her, take her through to the end.

A piece of her puzzle, this is where she could rest. The quiet, only the clink of the tracks. The rest of us immersed in music or games. Swiping and swiping until something made us feel whole. TC Mark

image – Chris Cofer

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