12.14.2007

Young Love



I was on my way to O'Hare to fly to Indy.

The Blue line was about 1/3 full. There were two pretty young women chatting in Polish, a United worker in a stocking cap and wire rimmed glasses, and across from him, a teenage couple facing away from me.

I looked up when he started yelling. His face was turned around so that it was right against hers, facing me. “You WHAT?” he was yelling, again and again. “You WHAT? YOU WHAT?”

She was in the window seat at the very front of the train, pinned in on all sides. She was shrinking down into the seat as he kept yelling in her face, loud enough to fill that entire car. He jerked back his right arm to punch her face and he held it there, threatening. His left arm was around her shoulders.

I was frozen with my book in my lap, feeling sick, furious, and strong. Staring at him. I AM STARING AT YOUR FIST, I kept thinking, ready to rocket out of my seat and .... and do… What? He shook her and my whole body started pounding with adrenaline. I AM STARING. AT. YOUR. FIST. He feinted twice. I didn’t think my muscles could tense any more, but they did.

He stopped yelling. He sat back in his seat next to her and looked away. She was moving strangely. After a minute I realized she was sobbing.

A few minutes later he lay his head against her shoulder. She did not move, even when he stretched his legs out in the middle of the aisle like he owned the whole Chicago Blue line, put his head in her lap, and went to sleep.



I thought this story was over, and I wrote it all down and took the picture. Then they got off at Rosemont: him first and quickly, her standing up slowly with a large pregnant belly, shuffling after him.

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