Subway

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
The speaker goes on a trip and is looked down upon for what remains of her blue hair.

Submitted: December 07, 2014

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Submitted: December 07, 2014

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The warm mush of bodies is offset by the draft of cold air wafting through the dark cement tunnel we find ourselves in. It’s surprisingly uncrowded, but the people around me still marvel over their clumsy first experience on a subway. The group of teenagers next to us rolls their eyes at our obvious tourist aura, and I can’t help but feel a slight flush of shame to be seen with such a group.

So far the trip has been decidedly harmonious. Seeing each other at the airport was a mixture of hugs and slightly forced small talk. It’s difficult for me to discern if everyone’s kind words and small compliments come from an even remotely genuine part of their heart. When people raved about the South’s hospitality before I moved, they forgot to mention that almost all of it is fake.

Back in the subway I’m proudly showing off the last few remains of my blue hair. Washing it out for this trip was a painful experience and the strip I missed seems to signify the individual I am when not surrounded by this group of people.  Immediately after bringing the attention to my hair I regret it. The raised eyebrows of one Mrs. Dothan starts the tidal wave of insults served with a side of “helping you understand what is professional”, or even better “what you’ll want to look back on when you’re older”.

It takes willpower to force myself to keep my lips upturned and my eyes happy as the train finally arrives and the exclamations start again from my group of people-whom-have-never-stepped-foot-on-a-subway-before. I sit down in a cracked seat, my counterpart in the seat adjourned to mine is an older man embellished in a vivid pink blazer. I can already feel the new set of criticisms rolling off the people I have surrounded myself with. I can only imagine they’re thinking pink doesn’t belong on the clothes of a man, especially an elderly one.

As the cement tunnel walls go by faster and faster until becoming a solid blur, I recede from the world that is made up of accusing eyes and people who don’t attempt to understand humans different from them. In my own mind the Jacob that is sitting across from me stops making fun of the Hispanic women’s accent that gives us change at the Rite-Aid down the street, and the Ms. Carol sitting behind me keeps her “tsk-tsks” to herself when I let it slip out that my family does not attend church.

A harsh shout brings me back to the reality of four more days with these people that are very much in contrast with the characters of my daydreams. It’s our stop and it’s time to get out of the train. As I step onto the platform with the hundreds of other faceless people oblivious to the men and women they are brushing aside, I make eye contact with a set of brown and green eyes. I quickly examine the person attached to these eyes. Warm, dark skin contrasting with bring pink lips and framed by out of control hair greet my assessment. These welcoming eyes give me a slight smile, a barley catchable nob and my blue hair is in an instant validated. I smile to myself as the masses of rush hour in a big city sweep us along to our destinations.


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