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A Short Story, Part 1

In the midst of a chaotic blend of both jubilance, and pain, a young man, paranoid and pedantic, strutted at a frantic pace down Lincoln Ave.  As people strolled by him, he was weary of their glances, because he feared that they might see in him something he avoided seeing in himself.  They were strangers, of course—mere passers-by socializing and shopping like all the rest—but every once in a while he felt truly spotted by one of them.  Sometimes, when eyes connect, recognition takes place between two souls, without either’s consent.

                He was on his way to the train.  He wanted to go to the big city—to see, well, whatever it was there for people to see.  He had no plan, only a desire and a nature the held with fanciful regard all whims and impulses.  His khakis were pressed neatly, his socks black, his shoes expensive.  His belt and his shirt were loud, shiny.  His outfit was perfectly fitted together and although it worked alone and in theory, it seemed at odds with his general demeanor.  He seemed uncomfortable in it, even though he chose it for himself piece by piece by piece, laboring over each.  The sight of him in it was as endearing and off-putting as listening to someone tell an elaborate fiction with utter commitment to every detail.

                As he approached the train, he felt a pang of panic followed by a wave of fear.  What was he going to do when got to New York?  The people he saw who were alone were clearly in their professionally capacities, and everyone else was with a loved one, or a friend.  What on Earth did he think would be so spectacular about this, except to be able to explain this day to someone at a later date as a grand adventure available only to the special romance in his unique experience of the world?

                Was this whole trip an attempt to legitimize a subconscious intent to commit a fraud?

                “How much to New York?” he asked a woman dressed like a conductor behind a pane of glass thick enough to appease the advances of a speeding bullet. 

                “$27.00,” she replied curtly, rudely, obscenely.  He had thirty dollars in his wallet, and less in his bank account.

                “I’ll take one.”  He tried to remain calm.  As he walked to the platform, he was clearly not in his body and not of one mind.  His inner world was rife with dissent, and much of his soul felt hijacked by the part of him currently deciding its fate.  He had the blankness in his eyes of a man detached from his own better judgment, distracted by a misplaced pride. 

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