I decided against telling anyone about those men the instant they left the apartment. Who would really believe a story like that? I put on my work shirt, tie, slacks, and threw my coat over my shoulder and headed out the door. I didn’t bother to take the time to iron the wrinkles from my clothes or eat breakfast. The stagnant air of the apartment imparted a heaviness on my body that I felt I could shake off with movement. I hustled down the steps that lined the block perimeter of my apartment complex, checked the time on the clock above the mailboxes on the first floor, then strode out of the gate towards the station. It had been a while since I’d left for work this early, but from what I could remember, I could make it to the station with ten minutes to spare before the next train.
The walk to the station proved uneventful. I purchased my ticket and headed to the platform to begin the wait. Having arrived earlier than usual, the crowd at the station was made of a variety of unfamiliar faces. At first it felt as if I had stumbled upon a strange secret, a cult of morning dwellers that faded away as the sun lifted the gloom of the remaining night away. Within minutes the excitement of the discovery was lost. The faces may have been unfamiliar, but the it was in essence the same crowd I had been commuting with for years. A few more still had sleep in their eyes, and I saw significantly more commuters with their select coffee/tea/espresso/herbal drinks, but their slumped postures and distant eyes melded with the crowds of the years past.
A girl caught my attention amidst the crowd. I’d almost mistaken her for an older woman–her youthful face was contorted by a constant sense of apprehension. Her eyes flickered with a manic energy, as they darted back and forth across the tracks and her phone. Each glance at her phone was followed by a look of nervous disappointment. She was definitely a schoolgirl, her uniform and the emblem on her bag gave away that much, but I couldn’t seem to recall any school in the area which the uniform matched. The train pulled into the station and I lost her as the crowd surged towards the open doors. I momentarily stretched to regain sight of her, but gave into the crowd and boarded. I sat down as the doors began to close, but decided to give up my seat to an older man who I thought could use it more than myself. As I grasped the standing hand bar above me I caught a glimpse of the girl outside the window. Her eyes seemed to be locked on mine; her manic anxiousness metastasized into fear.