Subway station. She nervously scuffs the ground with her boot, adjusts the purse strap on her shoulder. Blink. Sepia eyeshadow, smudged. Blink. Sepia girl.
There is a small boy standing near her in the mill of people. He is wearing a yellow-and-blue windbreaker and his lips are chapped. She wonders who he belongs to. Her stomach twists.
   Wshhhhh-sh-sh-sh-sh-sh. The train glides into the station with a noise like rushing staccato waves. She tugs on her brown sweater (sepia, sepia) and moves thoughtlessly forward with the crowd, her mind not on the step over the little gap between the cement and the train but on the words in her head and the smell of clove cigarettes. She licks her lips reflexively and lowers herself into one of the dirty plastic orange seats. The train starts. There is a soft screeching sound. She thinks of mice and death; reaches into her purse and pulls out a book (Ulysses, by James Joyce). Loses herself. Minutes pass. The train screeches again; stops; and she strides off of the train with her book in hand.
   The door slides shut, and a man is left inside that loves her and will never know her name.

The End

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