Late Night, Local Stops Here

by Danny Goodman

I told her I'd have to tell her mother if she killed herself. I didn't know the girl, and I certainly didn't know her mother, but she wasn't in any position to recognize that fact. Her mascara ran into the cracks beneath her eyes. She seemed so, so lost. I told her my name was Joshua. She believed we knew one another.

When she fell to her knees, I sat down on the floor next to her. She said that I had betrayed her, that I had found someone else to make love to. I told her there was no chance of that, that she was gorgeous and funny and serious in all the right ways. After that, she smiled. Her teeth were stained but perfectly aligned. The tile floor was icy and trembling. She stood up and, as if she'd known all along this was the end of our time together, waved. Headlights lit the station and, when she stepped in front of the subway train, it didn't happen like I thought it would. In the movies, you always have that moment when the person turns around and everything is slow motion and there's some larger truth learned in those milliseconds. Nothing was learned here. Her body went from platform to train. She didn't make any sound, but the train did. The horn screamed and the brakes screamed and the driver screamed. A little blood made its way onto the concrete pillars in the middle of the tracks.

Due to an emergency investigation, a thick voice said through the station speakers, the F train would be delayed. A few people were yelling and pointing now, but I was still on the ground. I felt I should stay there. A man in uniform asked if I was okay, said I had some blood on my shirt. A man and woman in business suits were the first off the train: they didn't look at me but avoided me just the same. The woman told the man she hated when the subway was delayed, that there was no need for it. The man nodded and repeated the words, there was no need for it.