Night Wanderer

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Mystery and Crime  |  House: Booksie Classic
A young man rides the subway at midnight to escape the voices in his head and meets a beautiful girl.

Submitted: November 22, 2011

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Submitted: November 22, 2011



‘Night Wanderer’


Mehrzad meets a girl on the subway.


He stared hard into the subway window opposite him.  A dishevelled young man stared back with lazy, bloodshot eyes.  His skin was no longer attractively bronzed; instead, it took on the colour of khaki.  Mehrzad was disgusted with his appearance, yet too tired to make any attempt to improve it.

Does it matter what I look like anymore, if Stella cannot see it?  Does anything matter anymore?

Stella had been the light of his life; ever since that light was snuffed out, Mehrzad lived in darkness.  Diagnosed with bone cancer eight months before, Stella’s death had been inevitable, but when the time came, he was unprepared and simply broke down.

The week after her funeral was a week of sleeplessness; Mehrzad had even resorted to sticking a map of the world on the ceiling and trying to memorise all the countries – his version of counting sheep.  But every time he closed his eyes, he encountered a female voice, come-hither, attempting to coax him into what he thought was the underworld.

The nightmares cumulated until he had no choice but to avoid sleep altogether.  One night he suffered from a severe migraine.  To his dismay, the medicine cabinet contained no aspirin, forcing him to make a reluctant trip to the 24-hour drugstore on the corner of 53rd.  However, he found a mild pleasantness in the train ride to and from, and since then, riding the subway had become a nightly ritual.

He met his fair share of interesting characters during these trips.  Billy, the b-boy who was secretly a choir boy, Kirsten, who knitted miniature sweaters for her hamsters**, and Gloria, a recent divorcee who propositioned Mehrzad every time she saw him, and upon his 10th polite decline, screeched, “You know, women going through menopause can still like it in the wazoo!” before getting off at the next station.

Tonight was no exception.  As the train doors closed, a dreadful clanking was heard at the other end of his carriage.  Turning in the direction of the noise, he saw a girl in a drunken stupor.  She was attempting the treacherous journey across the carriage of a moving train in four-inch stilettos.  He wondered if he should help the girl before she fell over and made an ass of herself, then decided against it because if she did happen to make an ass of herself, it would be in the presence of someone who couldn’t care less.

To his bewilderment (and mild disappointment), the girl made it all the way to the other side without tripping, and plonked herself down in the seat next to his.  She smelt of cocktail, perfume, and sweat – so saccharine it was almost nauseating.  She looked at Mehrzad with her eyes glazed-over, and grinned.  Surprisingly, it was beautiful: lips coated in shiny pink lip-gloss containing teeth like the ivory keys of a piano.  Mehrzad found himself smiling back, almost spontaneously.  It was hard not to.



**I was going to write “lovers’ penises” instead of “hamsters”, but I thought it was a bit too explicit, and decided to play it safe and do furry animals over furry body parts.  You can choose whichever you’d like, but the latter does provide a hilarious mental image.

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