‘ It Was A S T R E T C H To Call It A Typical Train Ride ’
by Jean Bean Wing
A herd of hard-soled shoes shuffle melodically as the passenger arrangement staff stuffs the last passenger into the car. I repeat to myself more slowly, “ Passenger Arrangement Staff ”. The job title actually is labeled, “OSHIYA” or “Pusher”. A befitting title for one that, during morning rush hour, crams the very last poor drudge into an already overloaded car. Yes, just far enough for the doors to close. It is quite a performance. And if you happen to miss it, the life size oil paintings of hands, cheeks and of course ears can be seen at the end of the day printed on the once see-through windows, remnants leftover to document the event.
20 minutes and 8 stops till the long stretch to Omiya, I prepare myself and join in the silence while mimicking the majority of this morning mob with the message “Do Not Disturb” emanating from my shut lids. “One more stop”, I observe as I move to take a now barren seat. : : : s i g h : : : , I give into the sway of the train and her low murmured lullaby for the remaining ten minutes. “Ten minutes” : : : : : : : : : :
My meditation is interrupted when unexpectedly the air before me is disturbed. Has a passenger just come to stand in front of me? I wonder why, when there are now so many vacant seats? I want to keep my lids closed but curiosity gives them a tug. No one. How strange, nothing . And yet there lingers a weight in the air~~
The murmur switched its pitch and the train’s sway is interrupted with a slight jolt. Just then I saw it. Though I’m not sure what “it” was. A strand? A cobweb? A gossamer thread? I intuitively reach out for this odd strand dangling mid air before me. I will just tangle it in my fingers I thought. I reach out for it. For some reason It seemed closer than this. I reach out further. Strange.. the thing is actually recoiling. I stretch from my seat, thrust my hand out and with one long stroke of air I felt an unexpected ::snAp:: .!. “just hair”, I disappointedly thought, reeling my hand in with the catch.
“Odd”. The strand had taken on a glow. Not a silky glow as seen in shampoo commercials but rather an undeniable illumination. “YIKES!”, I blurp.. startled . The thing shocked me. Now where did it go? I look down. On the floor. On my jeans. On the seat. Nowhere. I look up. Is it in the air ? The only thing in view were the few remaining passengers. All feigning to be preoccupied while inconspicuously taking notice of my peculiar behavior. That is.. all, but one.
The boy was seated about 20 ft down across on my right. His eyes flared in a wisdom belonging to a hundred year old, though he couldn’t be more than 7.. perhaps 8.. a schoolboy. I could only guess by his miniature physique and the Gakuran he donned. The school uniform and umbrella made him look like a Prussian cadet holding a bright yellow Dreyse. Good thing it wasn’t that needle-gun, ‘cause by the ____look____ in his eyes, he looked ready to charge.
Charge directly at me-
Then, I would have taken great umbrage with that Umbrella..
(..of the 1st chapter)