SHORT STORY: “After the Honeymoon” By T.M. Gaouette

Bleak cold mornings made the journey into work all the more unappealing. Mondays were bad enough, but Fridays were depressing all the same, because they arrived so quickly and reminded me that life was racing by at this stage in my life. Not to mention that Friday was only two days away from being Monday again.

Childhood is a moment in life always taken for granted for lack of knowledge of its true value. Who would know that the days were simply lengthened because we filled them with a multitude of mindless tasks and actions? We regarded our evolution with indifference. Before we are aware of it, life itself has taken the reigns. When once, each day felt like a week, now it passes swiftly by, threatening to go unnoticed if we choose to blink too long. I, personally, hadn’t even caught up with my life, as of yet. I’d planned to achieve so much more by this point, but to no avail. Rather, here I was on a chilly November morning, having left my country home before day really broke, waiting for a train, amongst others who looked on with the same expressions of defeat -all seemed lacking in strength and ambition. We were all gray together, and we blended into the morning without having the grace to disappear, as I certainly wished I would do. I waited for this train every morning, just so it would take me out of the suburbs and into the city and bound to a job that required nothing more of me, but to add and divide and multiply. Accounting was not my major in college, but it had become my career. It gave me the opportunity and the feigned pleasure, to find as many ways to screw an already slipshod system. Yet still it did nothing to validate my existence. Had I the energy, I would scream out, “Lord, why have you forsaken me”? in anguish; although admittedly, with no where near the justification allowed of Him that first uttered the words. But I stood quiet, for the mere fact that this was my own doing and I had no one else to blame.

I watched as the train rattled in, rocking from side to side, and then screeching to a halt. I waited as some bustled off and tons crammed on, not caring about the pushers, as I’d become one also. Nudging in all directions for wanting of a place to sit, but I was not quick this morning and stood instead for the long, long journey into the city. The fragrances mingled as usual. I tried to read from my neighbor’s folded paper, not completing any article, however, since he was a faster reader than I. We all leaned on each other; comrades on a similar mission. No smiles, but familiar nods, as if to say, “Another day, yup, I know how you feel.” I looked in between the heads to the outside world where the dreary day veiled everything that not long ago had been green and luscious and basking in sunshine. Another winter was upon us. I hated winter.

As the journey met the half way mark, the train had emptied a little so that breathing had become a possible feat. Seats had become available and I found mine finally, opposite a dark haired woman wearing black stilettos. She read her newspaper intently as her body rocked and jerked inconsistently from side to side with the momentum of the train. She also held her paper folded in her right hand, and in her left she clutched a Starbucks coffee which she sipped every few minutes. Her nails were painted orange and she wore a diamond wedding band. When I looked up at her face, she was staring back at me with slight amusement. I hadn’t realized the length of time I’d taken to size her up, but she’d felt the gaze obviously and I looked out the window quickly out of embarrassment.

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