Mind the Gap (Part 2)

Standard

This is the second installment in a series of vignettes inspired by travelers of the London Underground.

Faded

Clad in little shorts and chunky running shoes, two blondes bounce onto the train at Holborn. Between giggles they gossip about friends, family, and co-workers.  The biggest worry they have is deciding whether it’s a better deal to rent a flat on a month-to-month basis or with an annual lease. With their stretchy bedazzled tank tops and manicured nails, the money isn’t really a concern.  It just sounds like the right thing to say.

Beside them she sits with downcast eyes.  Her ankles are swollen and her shoes feel too small.  In her lap, she holds onto an oversize bag with a pair of hands that know the pain of a hard day’s work. She remembers being mini-skirt thin with cute sandal-worthy feet.  It’s all so fleeting, so easily taken for granted.  She’s long past due and out of chances, which makes her wonder if tomorrow will have meaning. Such lofty goals for someone caught in a hollow moment.

The doors slide open and youth slips away.

– – –

Sikh

With his dark skin and long black beard, he looks different from the rest.  Twenty pairs of eyes scan him up and down, but quickly look away.  As he takes a seat, shoulders stiffen and brows knot above noses.  Alert and nervous, they all hope the next stop is his. To them, the turban he wears can only mean one thing.

He says nothing and sits tall.

– – –

Distracted

At Notting Hill Gate, every seat is filled with tourists loaded with shopping bags and locals trying to get home.  A French couple squeezes through the crowd, she with bright red lips and he with a small dog in his arms.  It’s been a long day of judgment and obedience, but the blue ribbon attached to the dog’s collar makes all the effort worthwhile.

The little terrier doesn’t cry, whimper, or fidget.  He  won today for being the best and all eyes remain on him.  Two American tourists resist the urge to reach out and pet him.  Suburbanites look up briefly from their newspapers and books, while children point and smile.

The dog is oblivious, but the owner beams with pride.  The girl with red lips holds onto the rail, desperate for a seat.  She is hungry, exhausted, and has had enough.

No one sees her.

– – –

Note: Project Art Journal will return next Friday.

c.b. 2011

26 thoughts on “Mind the Gap (Part 2)

  1. Susanne

    These remind me of mini prompts from WIG! Now it would be interesting to put all the above into something that brings them all together. Or maybe not. Enjoyed reading very much.

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  2. These are fabuolus! I recently did some volunteer work at a community food bank and all day I made up little stories about everyone I had met (many prompted by conversations we shared). I wondered what twist of fate had brought them there? Where would they go once they left with a cart full of food? Why had we met that day? I love your approach to Mind the Gap and you have inspired my muse to write down my little stories to free them from my head! Thank you.

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    • Thank you! 🙂 You’ve totally made my day with your kind words.

      I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember, (I have journals from when I was 7 or 8 years old!). I had a little dry spell when I went to college and during my first few years of teaching. It’s been about 5 years now that I’ve been writing short fiction, poetry, and novels. If it were up to me, I’d write all the time!

      Thanks so much for reading and the clicks! 🙂

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    • Thank you. 🙂

      In the last segment in particular, I couldn’t help but notice how lonely both people seemed, despite being “together.” That couple is what set the tone for the other two in that every character is lonely in one way or another. I’m so excited someone noticed the common thread! 🙂

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  3. Most wonderful glimpses into the day of the life…especially loved the first for it covered the irony of class/wealth and how fleeting it can be; how we never know what shall be our next life. Excellent writing, indeed ~

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    • Thank you so much. 🙂

      The first is probably my personal favorite of the series. Those who inspired it are what made me consider writing Mind the Gap as a whole. I’m so grateful to them for being so ordinary and intriguing.

      Thank you for reading!

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