Scenes from Somewhere 2
An attempt at baby steps in writing fiction and garnering feedback. Expecting this to be something like, I write one scene, which might or might not be complete in itself. Or not. It might tell a story. Or not.
Three Dots And A Tear
“Watch out”, Arumugam said as he quickly got Selvi out of the way of the crowd exiting the train. She was still getting used to the subway, and the rush hour. She always asked if she could leave to get groceries at Jackson Heights sometime in the afternoon when the crowds were thinner, but he insisted he come with her in the morning, when he left for work. “You’re still new, ma”, he loved to say. And then he’d caress her chin, and the three dots tattooed on it.
They got off the train. He would change trains to head midtown, she’d get groceries and catch the E train back home, all the way to the end of the line.
Eduardo wove through the crowds easily at Times Square. He never did get pushed, or jostled; being a big guy did have its perks. A little child bumped in to his knee, and apologized. He kept walking through the passage to the 8th Avenue lines. There was the one-man band guy there today, and he was playing Hotel California. Ordinarily Eduardo would have given him a dollar. But today he was in a hurry. It was his first day at his new job near Sutphin Blvd. He boarded the E train.
The crowd thinned as the train went express in Queens, and Eduardo was still standing, lost in his thoughts. It had taken a long time leading to this, he smiled pleased. The job was minimum-wage, but hey, it was something, and something more than he’d had in years. He noticed empty seats all around, and just as he moved away from the door, it opened, and a crowd of people spilled in. He shrugged. He was just three stops away now.
And he noticed a frail, rather young girl, struggling with four bags of shopping. It was only Fall, and she had on a bulky winter jacket. She didn’t know to grip the long pole at an arm’s length so everyone could hold on to it; she held it with her arm, and close, and there wasn’t anyone standing around her. She seemed new. Indian, probably. She was a healthy, clear brown, a face that had known the sun. And on her chin…. good lord…
Selvi noticed the shadow loom over her, and turned instinctively, trying hard not to show she was scared. It was a big, tall man. She reached only until his waist. His face was hard, but he seemed very young. And there was a little tear next to his right eye, a tattoo. She stared, fascinated and scared, glad for the crowded compartment.
He looked right at her. She froze.
“That tattoo on your chin”, he said touching his own, “get it off. Or they will find you, they will kill you”, he said, making cutting motions against his throat. She looked around helplessly, but no one else had noticed. “Do not be scared, don’t scream”, he said, like she’d do anything other than stay frozen. “That tattoo… bad. Get it off. They kill you”. His eyes were menacing, it was almost like they didn’t know any other way to be. But his voice was soft and unhurried.
And he got off the train.
Eduardo felt bad. That lady had been so scared. And would probably not travel alone for a while. And hopefully get rid of that tattoo, or cover it up. But better him on a bright Wednesday morning than some Sureña in a dark alley or late on a Sunday night.