Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Lorraine; Paige

Lorraine: Seen on the Purple Line to the Loop at about 5:15 p.m., August 8th, 2011


She cannot believe she has been reduced to this. Of all things, Lorraine never thought she'd be forced to take public transportation. The idea of her delicate dress rubbing against the germy, worn chair disturbs her. She almost chews on her manicured nails, but she stops herself and plays with her earrings instead.

He was supposed to meet her at the Northwestern Campus. They were supposed to have a nice lunch and tour the stately buildings. Lorraine waited five minutes, then ten, then twenty, her lips pressing together more firmly and her tiny frame becoming more rigid all the while. And what was her son's excuse when she finally called? "Oh, I forgot."

Does he think she is stupid? She could smell the sweat on his clothes and hear the nauseous hangover in his voice. Once again he had been partying with his useless friends, having "band rehearsal." After all she had done for him, he never failed to disgust and disappoint her. And now she has to trek all the way to Pilsen--God knows where that is--to drag him back home and try to straighten out his life yet again.

Lorraine's rage is interrupted by the train's arrival at Howard. She consciously unfurrows her brow and stops clenching her teeth. She tries to look refined. Her mother always said she shouldn't make ugly faces or they'd stick that way. Well, this is the last humiliation she would suffer. If he refuses her help this time, she will simply let him ruin his life. He will no longer be her problem.

Paige: Seen on the Purple Line to the Loop at about 6 p.m., August 9th, 2011


As the train passed the Addison station, the wheels spun roughly over the tracks and made a low, raspy noise that seemed more human than mechanical. Paige's stomach dropped and her heart trembled, for it sounded like her mother's dying cry. She pulled out her headphones and jammed them into her ears, praying the music would drown out the memory.

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