A light snow began to fall, covering the ground in a pure white. The innocent beauty of the fluttering flurries flowing freely from the open sky were appreciated by all, except her. She had been standing on the platform for over ten minutes impatiently waiting for the T to arrive. Even the purity of the first snow wasn’t enough to snap her out of the funk her life was perpetually in. Like a spastic car wiper, she swatted at the flurries to improve visibility of her non-existent winter sleigh. Sleep deprived and alone, save for her young energetic son, she exhaled a deep sigh as she resigned to become an involuntary snowman.
Five minutes passed. Then another. Increasingly annoyed, she looked at her fellow would be passengers and noticed that they all seemed quite chipper. Now even more annoyed, she rolled her eyes in deep-seeded exasperation. If they were me, they’d be tired too, she thought. Knowing she could sleep when she got home, she allowed herself a small, wry smile that quickly faded as her son, looking full of mischief, began tugging her the sleeve of her pink pea coat.
“Stop that!” she yelled, drawing the looks of many, but she didn’t care and neither did her son. All he did was start asking all kinds of questions. Why is it snowing? Mommy! Why? Why isn’t the slug here? Why do you look sad? Why? Why? Why? Since ignoring him never worked, she did her best to fend him off as she finally saw the T in the distance. Allowing herself another smile, one which she even shared with her son, she grabbed her T pass in preparation of her escape from the snow.
After an unnecessarily slow take off, the T finally lurched forward carrying the tired mother and curious son on the path home. Since she had over ten stops to go, she knew that this wasn’t quite the homestretch. And on a packed T, where standing in the mid-section of the beast meant getting pushed about, she knew the journey was far from over. Instantly exhausted by this notion, she repositioned her suddenly squeaky sneakers closer to the cold wall as she leaned back. Closing her eyes for just a second, a daydream instantly seized her.
In what seemed like a mere moment later, she awoke. Panning the crowd with half awake eyes, she squeezed her hand expecting to feel a tiny squeeze back. Instead, there was nothing. Instantly wide awake, she yelled, “Jack!” Other passengers turned to look at this semi-middle-aged woman as she started to circle about. “Jack, come here! NOW!” Silence. Pleading looks got her nowhere. Other passengers either didn’t care, didn’t understand the situation or simply had no help to offer.
As the T approached the next stop, the frightened mother grew desperate. What if I missed a stop and he got off? What if he slips off at THIS stop?!? Full panic mode began to set in when she heard it. A small, barely audible voice in what must have been the farthest corner of the metro car. “But why are you mad?,” she heard. Forcing a smile, she pushed her way closer to the familiar voice. Continually increasing in volume, she heard an even more familiar question; “Why?” followed by the perpetual pestering accompaniment of “And why are you sooooo tall?” “Are you a giant?” “WhyWhyWHYWHY!?!!?”
“Jackson Everett!” she said loudly and firmly, causing many heads to turn, including that of a small, blonde-haired child and a 6 foot stranger. As she moved towards the odd pair, she noticed fear in the eyes of her son but she couldn’t quite discern what lay in the eyes of the man. It it must be relief she thought. He looked quiet and nonthreatening and, for his obvious patience, she instantly loved him, even if he hadn’t responded to her desperate yells. Looking the man over as she approached, she noticed his ear buds and his lack of attention towards her son. Had he even noticed Jack?
As soon as she was close enough to grab her son, the man stood up, glanced at the perplexed mother, and with a quick yet forced smile, walked to the opposite end of the car. In disbelief, she stared at this enigma, or jerk, of a man, but he did not seem to notice. Already standing quietly with his back against the wall on the opposite end of the metro car, he had escaped to a new bubble of solitude. He leaned patiently, looking neither forward nor backward as the T jerked ahead over the laying snow.