#3 (Part II)

#3 The Man With The Newspaper (Part II)

     I felt as a bug under a glass – as if he missed nothing of my messy hair, or the circles under my eyes, or the tiny sore on my chin heralding in an oil spot. 
     His smile is at once certain and apologetic.  “No.  I don’t leave the train.”
     “I make sure the connections from one package to the next are made.  In this way our jobs are similar.  Where they are different is you are free to leave the train.  You are free to travel.  I am locked in here by my own hubris.”
     We sit quietly for several minutes.  I notice then the words on the paper are not in English.  “If you could go anywhere,” I say slowly as the question is slow to form on my lips, “Where would you go?”
     “To the islands.”  He gives a quick laugh at this.  The self-derisive sound is swallowed at once by the dullness of the air inside our compartment.  It does not travel far.  The train begins to slow down, the metal-thunks coming just a little slower between rotations of the great iron wheels. 
     He folds the newspaper into thirds.  “This is your stop.  Welcome to the City of Tamorace.”  He stands and helps me take my bags down.  I notice he has thin fingers, elegant fingers.  When the train stops he steps aside.  There is no traffic in the isle for him to block. 
     He grasps my elbow, and I look up at him.  I am aware of the cold of his hand through my sleeve.

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