A Trip on the Train

Naina Mukherjee05/09/2022May 2022

#From the field

You wake up, you eat your bagel with toast, and you pat your ferret three times before hopping onto a crowded subway car. You cram your body into it at the last minute because you’re just that eager to learn.

The train groans merrily along. Then, you stop. It's the third to last stop and this person with a green North Face puffer is getting on. Their coat is North face because they're basic—but green because they’re not that basic. Their bright yellow Fjallraven kanken backpack is way too brightly colored and definitely too small to fit all their necessities (notebooks, rocks, organs, etc.) The train is cramped and they have to stand. They don’t deserve a seat though. They would probably put their blinding, stupid backpack on their lap if they had a chance instead of the floor where it belongs. This person is here every day. It’s like they are following you. Maybe they are just also “going to school,” but almost everyone has an ulterior motive these days and people with white Converse are never to be trusted.

The train lurches and so does your mysterious stalker.

You check your watch, a knockoff fit bit because who has the money for those things, and see that you indeed have 3 minutes until school starts.

Sitting uneasily, you glare at a baby you were positive was making a face at you first until its mom turns the stroller around. You think about why that baby looked like a little Ed Sheeran and contemplate telling its mother but realize that she would probably be offended. I mean it’s sad enough her child is a ginger. And you’re pretty sure you heard her call the child “Mark.” Weird. You thought people were becoming less basic. Then you remember the green North Face jacket person and turn your head to the side.

And there they are. Green as ever. Your legs are moving before you know it (you knew you shouldn’t have eaten that day-old bologna.) Funnily enough, now you’re standing in front of them.

“Hi,” you say, surprised at yourself. “Uhh... hi?” They seem scared of you. Weirdo.

You blank. Words no longer exist in this realm of thinking. Mushy nothingness fills your brain like that chocolate milk that flooded the school last week. You stutter out something about leaving your stove on but realize you don’t know how to cook. Making friends on subway trains is not ideal. Making friends is not ideal. Friends in general are not ideal.

You back away and the heel of your shoe hits young Ed Sheeran's stroller. You fall. This is a new realm; the Fjallraven Kanken yellow flashes in your peripheral, nightmares of Hydro Flasks being stuffed into tiny backpacks fill your mind as you topple. You hear the mother yell out “Mark” and you mentally confirm how ugly that name sounds as a yell. As you fall the train begins to move.

Green puffer coat person helps you up and the mother glares at you.

Your stop is finally here. As you exit the train, with a newfound sense of courage you tell the mother that her child resembles Ed Sheeran but that she shouldn’t worry too much. She shakes her head, not knowing who dear Ed is.

“What’s an ‘Ed?’” She asks and you just walk away. You wait for puffer coat person on the platform but they walk right past you.

Making friends on the subway is great! That was great! It’s gonna be a great day—and you will never see those people ever again.

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