Elmhurst Station This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   Two bright lights appear between the trees and chug around the corner. The red and white bars go down at the street next to the station as the crowd inches toward the tracks. A long whistle blows when the driver angrily leans on the horn because several people are hurrying dangerously across the tracks in front of the train. The breeze from the train whips my hair in my face, and I hold my skirt from flapping up. After the metal doors creak open, I follow a man in a gray suit up the stairs, stepping closely behind his black leather shoes. Seating myself on the upper level in a metal seat with a red plastic cushion, the one I sit on every day, I open my book.

Daydreaming, I look around the train. From upstairs, I can see across to the other aisle of seats and down at the two rows of double seats. Upstairs, in front of me, in the row of seats against the window, sits the man I followed onto the train. He sets his briefcase on the shelf after taking out his newspaper. It crinkles as he opens it wide so that if you were in front of him, you wouldn't be able to see his face.

Soon, we creak to a stop at Elmhurst, where a big crowd squeezes into the few open doors. The line inches down the aisle, dropping people off at open seats. As the last few passengers trickle in, the man in front of me crinkles his newspaper down from his face. His eyes follow a woman wearing a long flowery skirt. Looking around for an empty seat, her eyes travel upwards. When she continues to stare, although the seats are full upstairs, I think at first she is looking at me. Then it dawns on me that the man's and woman's eyes are locked. Suddenly, the train jerks forward, and the woman nearly falls. She catches herself and, not looking back up at the man, heads for an empty seat where she arranges herself with a laptop computer. The man's newspaper crinkles again as he looks for the place he had been reading.

Every day that summer, as the train creaks to a stop at Elmhurst, the man's newspaper crinkles, and I look up from my book. The man's and woman's eyes meet every day. She looks up as she enters the car and finds a seat below while continuing to look up. Every few days, she goes too fast and runs into the person in front of her or too slowly, and the person behind bumps into her. Then the woman sits down with her laptop, and the man reads his newspaper. Neither says a word.

One day, at the end of summer, the man isn't at my station or on the train. But, by rote, I look up at the Elmhurst station and watch the passengers come in. That day, the woman isn't there either. For a week, both are absent, but I continue to watch for the man at my station and for the woman at Elmhurst.

The next Monday, the man still isn't at my station, but, of course, I look up from my book at Elmhurst. Just as I'm beginning to think the woman won't be there either, I glimpse a long flowery skirt. She comes in, hand in hand with the man wearing a gray suit. As her hand rises to adjust her bag, a diamond glistens on her ring finger.

They seat themselves on a double seat below. The woman opens her laptop

computer, and the man crinkles his newspaper. 1


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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