Bottled time

At the counter, a woman leans over disgruntled that the train that runs like clockwork every weekday is late. Crinkling the newspaper and tightening the muscles in her face, she curses under her breath. If only there were some possible way to whisk past the traffic and get on with the day her displeasure might ease off a bit.

Smack smack

[Increasing chewing, wet smacking and chomping. A child finishes the last of their lunch now a disarray in the Thomas the Train lunchbox. A young nanny brushes the crumbs away and dabs water at the ends of the child’s mouth. The child squirms off the bench and turns around flashing an accomplished toothy grin that he has escaped the nanny’s grasp.

The woman with the lavender tweed matching suit set is enraged. Her brooch bares a shield with an embossed lion’s face. She takes one look at the small child and the nanny with her nose rumpled in disgust. She takes a seat on the next bench closest to the brochures and pamphlets of train etiquette and train stops. It is now fifteen minutes past two o’ clock and the train is nowhere in sight, in fact all of the other passengers have set their bags down and some lighted their cigarettes. Two gentlemen with worn wool caps play chess on a wobbly table adjacent to the two benches. One man has played all his pawns first and now accelerates to pick up the bishop.

“Why can’t we go to the animals? I want to see the animals!”

“Quiet, we will get there soon enough. Now come here so I can tie your shoe before you fall.”

The nanny reaches down. A slight cut on the boy’s kneecap catches her eye. When did this get here? She makes no mention of it, fearing the boy will simply squirm his way out of this one. Two black and white saddle shoes scuffed with grass stains are now perfectly tied.

The woman with the lavender suit has now straightened her hat for the third time. She pulls out of her purse a catalog. On each page there are variances of gloves, hats and slips. She turns each page sparingly. She is not in a mood at all to really revel in what is in front of her. Instead, she bores herself flipping through the book aimlessly.

An attendant from the desk approaches.

We will not have any trains arriving soon. There’s been a dreadful accident

The woman does not look up, in fact she stares off to the right of her to hide her face.


“Yes, I’m not sure when it will be resolved, the accident that is. May I phone a cab for you?”


The attendant now goes to the younger woman, but she is not young by default. She pats the young boy on his head reassuring him they will see the animals the next time. The two men have stopped playing chess and packed the chess pieces in a small wooden box. Both chairs are pushed in. Everyone walks toward the curb, extending one foot out onto the street. A loud scream can be heard, it’s unclear if it’s far away or close. The nanny has pulled the young child close forcing his head into her chest. The two men cover their mouths in horror.

The old woman with the lavender tweed jacket, black stockings and an embossed brooch too impatient for anyone, has stepped into the impeding traffic and suddenly disappeared. No traces of blood on the cars are visible. No body is visible. The cab drivers and others have halted, the brakes screeching abruptly. She is gone. She is a force of impatience repressed in all of us. A bottled form of what lingers in our heads. The nanny, the child and the two men have settled that they will not get on the train today and have made peace with it.

The symbolism that one is more important than the other and I must have things now has subsided.

This is the Twilight Zone.


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