Here there be dragons...

"I'm telling you stories. Trust me." - Winterson

Flash Fiction 32: How Does Your Story End?

This week's challenge: the world as seen by an inanimate object. ("K: one, Inanimate Object: zero" -- sorry very old inside joke, couldn't resist :) Anyways back to our regularly scheduled program: the inanimate object in question - a seat on a train. Enjoy!

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Every day I go back and forth on the same route over and over again. And yet every trip is different. I'm occupied by fat people and thin people, by the elderly and by children who bounce rather than sit. And sometimes by the feet of the manner-less sitting across the aisle. And sometimes by nobody at all. Those trips are sad and pass slowly -- every stop the hope one might choose me, and every stop a disappointment. But that doesn't happen all that often, after all, I am a window seat -- an upstairs window seat at that!

I travel the Lakeshore route -- back and forth every day. I have some regulars; people are creatures of habit you know. The Power Lady at 5:45 in the am and 7:42 pm; she usually spends the am ride typing and the pm ride on the phone. But quietly. She makes her point without interrupting the other passengers. Always she is working and always she is alone. I wonder if that changes when she's not with me.

There are the nine to five gangs -- people who travel in groups of four. There are several of these groups and I get one of them each day. These ones speak animatedly of their lives. I almost never hear about their work -- instead it's the trouble Bradly got into being smarter than his teacher at school, or the great game on TV, or what Greg's going to get his wife for valentine's day. Every day a new story from the same people. For an hour each day I learn their lives -- simple lives perhaps, but full.

I enjoy these people. They are familiar and comfortable in that familiarity. But perhaps even more interesting are the ones I only meet once.

The young child so excited to be on his first train ride. And the understanding mother who allows his enthusiasm while keeping his behaviour in the realm of appropriate. How wonderful to see the sights, to feel every train sway and hear every announcement as though it were fresh and exciting. It leaves me hopeful for the future.

The child disembarks to be replaced by an elderly man, who holds his wife's hand the entire ride. Neither speaking. Neither needing to. Having said it all in decades of togetherness, and now comfortable with the silence. Yet still holding hands.

And then there's the young lady. She sits alone, silent, staring at the world passing outside and seeing nothing. A single tear rolls down her cheek. I wish I could tell her it would be ok, but I can't. I don't know that it will. I'll never know.

And perhaps that's the hardest part of my existence. I never get to know the ending to any story. Some people I see every day for years and then they disappear; I never learn where they've gone or what they've done. Some I only meet once, but even in that time I come to care what happens next, and I've no way to find out. Imagine watching all but the last ten minutes of a really great movie. That's what my every day is like. So tell me, if you please, how does your story end?

2 comments:

Aw, This was sweet. I didn't think it silly at all. And here I was expecting jokes about people's bums and flatulance (because its a seat- get it?). Guess it shows where my head is. :D

Really cute, sweet story. Nicely done.

 

Very clever. Sweet yet sad. Not that I should feel sorry for a "seat" but that to never truly know how something ends... ok I felt sorry for the seat, damn it.

We never know either... most of the time we just make it up
~2

 

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