The Subway

May 28, 2010
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“I hate my job.” The woman sighed and took another sip of her half-skim, half-regular light, iced caramel macchiato.

“I know, hun,” replied the other woman. Her Blackberry buzzed signaling a new BBM. She instantly became engrossed.

“No, but I really, really hate my job. I thought this job was going to be a great opportunity for me. Living in New York on my own, working at a magazine! What could be better?”

A light jazz blues music was playing in the café. Yet, it was drowned out by the hustle and bustle of people entering and leaving.

“Listen, we all have those days where we think ‘Oh my job is awful. I want to quit.’ That’s totally normal. You’ll get over it.” The woman picked up her Blackberry that had buzzed again.

“But, I just don’t think I can keep working; I don’t feel like I’m going anywhere. I’m just standing still. I sit at my desk for hours on end, answering the occasional telephone call.”

“This is just the beginning stage! Everyone has to start from the bottom at one point. Think how many doors this will open for you for the future. You could be the editor if you just keep going,” the second woman responded.

“The future, the future. I feel like that’s what I’m always concerned with. First, it was ‘Oh, get good grades in high school so you can go to a good college.’ Then, ‘Be sure to work hard in college so you can go to grad school.’ After, ‘Make sure you do well so you can get a good job.’ Sometimes, I’m just tired of living in the future, you know?”

“Oh, totally.” The Blackberry buzzed.

“It seems like we live our lives for the future. Everything we do is a steppingstone for our next goal. Do we ever live in the present anymore? I mean, here I am at my desk, thinking about- .” She shifted forward on her chair, which made a loud groaning noise.

“Uh-huh. I totally feel for you, sweetie,” the woman replied. “One second, I’ll be right back.” She went up the counter to get some more milk for her coffee.

The first woman sighed. She sipped her coffee and looked out at the streets of New York. Against the light blue sky and the trees dressed in a mélange of yellows and rust, a swarm of people in gray attire hurried by on the sidewalks. She looked to the left and saw the entrance to the subway. It was dark and cold. It seemed like everyone had decided to take the upper pathway.
“Oh em gee. I could just eat that waiter right up. Yum.” The other woman returned from the counter. “Guess who got his number?” She waved the slip of paper proudly.
“See this is what I mean. We live our daily lives sitting at our desks, going from meaningless relationship to meaningless relationship. I mean can you honestly tell me that that guy is your true love?”
“Hey! He could be! What’s gotten into you? Drink some more coffee, sweetie. I’m sure you’re just overtired. You know when you’re overtired, you begin talking nonsense.”
“Yeah. Overtired. That’s what this is.”
“Remember that awesome party we went to last Saturday. Whatever happened to that blond you were chatting with?”
“The one with glasses?”
“The one with really white teeth?”
“No. You know who I’m talking about. The one who works on Wall Street?”
“Mhm. What about him?”
“I think you need to get out more. Why don’t you call him?”
“Don’t you see? They’re all the same guy. And it’s always the same, day after day. There has to be something more, something more exciting, something more real. I just feel like I could be doing something so much more!”
“Careful, hun.”
“I don’t want to live my life always being careful- to make sure I’m doing what I’m supposed to!”
“No, no, sweetie. I mean, you almost just spilled that coffee on that new dress. Yeesh, what a disaster that would have been.”
“Oh. The dress. Listen… listen, have you ever looked at things differently? And realized that they’re not what you think?”
“You mean, like from a side view?”
“Uh, yeah. Yeah, that’s exactly what I mean.”
“I totally understand. Like, the other day at work, I was looking at this guy from a side view, and I thought it was Billy. And then, I was like there’s no way this could be Billy. And it was. Isn’t that funny?”
“Yeah. Funny. But, don’t you just want, to I don’t know, do something crazy for once. Stop following the norm and really live your life? Come on, let’s move away together! Just us girls. We could travel the world. Get away from the confining cubicles of New York City.”
“What? Why on Earth would I do that? Everything I want is all right here in the city.”
“Is this really what you want?” She paused.
The second woman’s Blackberry began to ring. “Oh, I’m so sorry. Just one second. I really need to take this,” she said to the other woman. “Hello?” she cooed.

The first woman looked out at the window again. No one was taking the subway.
“So sorry about that. Major work crisis down at the office. I have to run, but I’ll talk to you later, okay?” She ran out of the café.
“Yes. I’ll see you later.” The woman had already left.
The first woman packed up her belongings and left the café. She turned and began to walk slowly towards the subway.

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