Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Brenda; Elisa & Tracey

Brenda: Seen on the Purple Line to Linden at about 8:40 a.m., February 28th, 2012

Brenda hopes her dark sunglasses hide her smeared makeup, and that her white puffy coat conceals the same wrinkled red dress she wore yesterday--or at least that it covers up the stench. Why did she do that? How did it happen? She was at the airport bar waiting for her shuttle, minding her own business, when that guy, Josh (or so he said), offered to buy her a drink. One drink became two, two drinks became three, and so on. At one point they dared each other to turn off their cell phones for the night. He was really funny. That story he told about being on “The Price is Right” was hilarious.

Eventually they left the airport and went to another bar. What was it called? Annie’s? No--Danny’s. That was it. The darkness and coziness of the place wrapped her up like an old sweater. They danced to old soul music. They drank some more. He was really handsome. She especially liked his five o’clock shadow; the stubble tickled her cheek when he kissed her.

Nothing happened, though. At some point she left, but she had no idea where she was. So she wandered the city streets, spying into insomniac strangers’ still-lit apartments, stargazing at the lights on top of skyscrapers. Then it was dawn. Now she is on this train to Evanston, and she hopes Bethany won’t be furious that she never showed up last night. She won’t be angry once Brenda tells her the story. It’s a good story.


Elisa & Tracey: Seen near the Lincoln Ave. Bus Stop at about 1:15 p.m., February 29th, 2012

Elisa and Tracey hold hands as they stroll down Lincoln Avenue. Elisa intertwines her fingers with Tracey’s as lightly as possible, as though she cannot wait to set this germy object down and bathe her hands in Purell. The fact is, Elisa has to break up with Tracey. She has to. It’s just not working. But how can she dump her on a day like this? The sun is out, it’s 60 degrees, Tracey is literally humming that one Beatles song, “Good Day Sunshine.” It’s like the universe is conspiring against her, like they’re meant to be together for 24 hours more. Elisa pulls out her phone with her left hand and checks the weather for the week. Thursday it’ll be much colder, and Friday it’s supposed to rain. Maybe she’ll do it Friday. Rainy days are good for a break up, right?

Two stories to make up for the lack of story yesterday. Sorry about that--work was insane. Here is a picture of 90's goth Becky and friends from Saturday night: 


Hilarious. In other news, I'm sad that Davy Jones died. In other news, we're going to win trivia tonight. That's my story.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Casper & Joey


Seen on the Brown Line to the Loop at about 4:30 p.m., February 25th, 2012 

Joey nonchalantly leans against the panel by the train doors. Not to be out-cooled, Casper takes the stance of a surfer and balances during all the bumps and swerves. The passengers near him cringe, expecting him to topple over any minute. It is Casper who first introduces the topic of music.

“So, like, what do you think of the 50’s?”

If Joey were being honest, he would admit that he doesn’t know a great deal about 1950’s music. But both boys are at that adorable age where you start wanting to form a garage band, even though you don’t play an instrument, and it’s not only necessary but hip to know the musical influences for your non-existent band. We’ve all been there. To cover up his embarrassing lack of knowledge, Joey snorts and dismisses the decade altogether.

“I don’t know, man…”

This is not the response Casper was expecting. He tries to save himself:

“Well, I mean, I like Elvis and stuff because my parents used to listen to him a lot when I was little. He was pretty awesome, though.” He sees that Joey’s not buying it. “I love the 60’s, though, too.”

Ah. Now here’s something Joey can talk about, at least a bit. “Yeah, man. The Beatles are so sweet!”

“Totally. I love that ‘Come Together’ song. Jimi Hendrix was freaking cool, too.”

“Yeah, he’s probably the greatest guitar player of all time, or whatever.”

With that, the 1960’s are exhausted, and Casper moves on: “The 70’s were ok, I guess—”

“But disco totally sucks,” Joey is quick to interrupt.

“Oh, well, yeah. That’s a given. Anyway, the 70’s were fine, but the 80’s were boss.”

“Definitely, definitely. Hair metal and stuff. I like 90’s music a lot.”

Casper sees his chance to get revenge for Joey’s Elvis-hatred. “Well, 90’s punk was good, at least.”

Joey is thrown for a second, but he recovers. “Sure, Green Day is cool. I like hardcore, too.”

Casper rolls his eyes. “I guess I’m just not a hardcore kind of guy.”

Joey is nervous. They are running out of decades, and right now Casper is winning their unacknowledged competition. They have no audience but each other (and the inevitable eavesdropper or two); nevertheless, Joey cannot let Casper be the musical expert. He has too much pride to fail, so he decides to risk it all:

“Quite frankly, I listen to a lot of classical music. Chopin is brilliant.”

Stunned, Casper stops train-surfing and grabs the back of a chair. He takes the bait. “Yeah, Yo-Yo Ma is so cool.”

“He’s just a great cello player, though. It’s not like he’s anywhere near the genius of the classical composers, bro.” Joey’s voice is smothered in smugness.

“No, for real though. Yo-Yo Ma’s the shit. I’ll send you some of his stuff later.” 

I guess this is more like creative non-fiction, but I overheard this conversation on Saturday and I thought it was hilarious. Just had to write about it. 

Celebrated my roomie's birthday this weekend. Dressed as 90's punk Becky. Hopefully pictures sometime soon. Also, I got my nose pierced. You know, just because it was Friday. 

Friday, February 24, 2012

Elijah

Seen on the Purple Line to Linden at about 8:40 a.m. 

Elijah hates it here. When he looks out the window, his mind replaces what he sees with the things he desires. The measly trees lining the city streets stretch and twist and thicken—they grow into ancient, leafy giants that filter the daylight and host countless species of birds. The tall buildings reach even higher, their bricks shuffle to the sides until their bases are immense and wider than their peaks. They become a lofty mountain range lining Lake Michigan. The elevated train tracks fall to the ground. Moss from the sidewalk cracks lurches forward and seethes over them. Twigs and dirt blow over from the local parks until the tracks are completely covered—they are now perfect paths through this imaginary wilderness.

Yes, Elijah is just a natural, hippie outdoorsman living in a sleek, industrial city world. But he has his water bottle, and he’s wearing his hiking shoes. Hopefully they’ll carry his feet to the forest where he belongs. 

I saw Young the Giant last night with my sister. They were really good! You could have recorded it as a live album. I enjoyed myself greatly. Tonight: blues dancing, I believe? Tomorrow night: 90's dance party for Lindsey's birthday at Beauty Bar. Good times ahead.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Calvin; Roger

Calvin: Seen getting on the Red Line to 95th at the Fullerton Station at about 8:10 a.m. 
Roger: Seen on the Purple Line to Linden at about 8:30 a.m. 

Scientists say we evolved from apes. But with the variety of the animal kingdom, and the diversity of humans, wouldn’t it make more sense if we evolved from all sorts of creatures? Take Calvin, for example; his avian ancestry is perfectly apparent. Sharp shoulder blades, once the bases of broad wings, jut out from beneath his thin jacket. His beak-nose is curved, hawk-like. It’s easy to imagine him as a giant bird of prey, swooping down from the skies to catch his dinner. Of course, Calvin is not a bird. He shops at Trader Joe’s for dinner, like any city-dwelling human. Maybe he still feels a shiver of satisfaction, though, when he strolls by the seafood section and spies the whole fish, fresh from the lake. They look so alive, so helpless, like a perfect target.

And then there’s Roger. Roger obviously stemmed from serpent stock. He is swathed in slick, corporate clothing—long black coat, leather gloves, white dress shirt, a tie. He has smoothed his dark hair back with slimy gel. He looks smarmy. He is probably a lawyer; however, one can’t help but see him slithering up the ranks at his company, squeezing to death anyone who gets in his way. He seems like a smooth talker, skilled in the art of persuasion, much like his forefather in the Garden of Eden. Roger and Calvin are not the only ones. Look around you. What creatures do you see at your office? On your bus? In your home? 

Sorry there was no story yesterday. I worked from home, so I wasn't on the CTA at all. Team Lindifferent won second place at trivia last night, though! So that was fun. I'm going to see Young the Giant tonight, which should be good. And...that's about it.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Sly


Seen on the Brown Line to the Loop at about 11:45 p.m., February 20th, 2012 

Sometimes we still can’t believe you had the gall to ban us indoors. You drink alcohol all the time, poisoning your precious livers, but for some reason we’re worse than that. And you have to admit it’s less fun now. Don’t the bars seem sad, sticky, and desperate without our sting in your eyes, transforming boring people into much more tempting prospects?

You go ahead and suffer. We’re just fine. Those of us that were left twisted ourselves together into one entity, a man, a far superior man. We see you admiring our rich, gray coat, and the gray cashmere scarf that strangles our throat so softly. The pallor of our cheeks is kind of sexy, isn’t it? We bet you want to remove our gray fedora and run your hands all over our chemo-bald head. If you’re lucky, maybe we’ll squeeze the small of your back with our skeletal fingers, or rasp sweet denials into your ear. Who did you say was secondhand? 

Last night everything just felt a little off. I went swing dancing at Fizz, and the room was way too hot, and the band was way too loud. So I left earlier than normal, but it was eerily quiet outside. So then this man who I have dubbed Sly was on the train, and I don't think I was staring at him a lot (I try not to when I write stories about people). But then when I got off the train, he looked RIGHT AT ME, which was quite unexpected, and when I turned around this other random guy getting on the train said, "By the way, you look very nice this evening." As if I had been having a conversation with him, which I obviously had not been. It kind of freaked me out. I was glad to get into bed. That's my story.

Writing Group tonight. Hooray!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Miles

Seen on the Purple Line to Linden at about 8:20 a.m.

Miles tries and fails to look ten years younger than he is. He wears his thinning hair long, and limp bangs fall beneath his vintage, prescription-free frames. Miles tries and fails to look ten times smarter than he is. He holds a battered Kurt Vonnegut book, but the amount of time he spends gazing out the window betrays his lack of interest. Miles has just been through a messy break-up, and it shows. Desperation shines in the oil on his comically large nose; the patterns of memories grow in the scruff on his cheeks.


So I totally WON the soul dance contest last Friday! This is what a sweaty, worn-out winner looks like: 




It was awesome.


You know what else was awesome? Seeing Sharon Needles on Saturday night. She is pretty much the best drag queen ever. She popped out of a coffin and started singing Whitney Houston. If she doesn't win  drag race, I'll cry. 


Speaking of drag race, it is once again Wine & Drag Race Night! And people are coming over to watch, so I'd better go work out. Until tomorrow. 

Friday, February 17, 2012

Nate

Seen on the Brown Line to Kimball at about 8:20 p.m., February 16th, 2012 

FUCK. The environment. He is supposed to be thinking about the environment. Tomorrow he has to present on corporate pollution at the General Assembly. Instead Nate’s mind has been dwelling on Ava’s wrist. Her wrist is thin, but strong. He likes the way her blue veins swell and darken when she hoists her homemade protest signs in the air; it’s as though she’s transferring her whole life force into the messages on those signs, like she’s ready to die for the cause at any moment. Nate isn’t sure if he’d die for Occupy, but he would gladly die for Ava. 

I accidentally wrote a drabble again! I love when that happens! 100 words exactly, and it was completely unintentional.

I added ANOTHER new blog to the Links page; it turns out my friend Jane writes a flash fiction blog, too! It's called Sum-Up Stories. Definitely read it. It will make you happy. Flash fiction is good for you. 

Soul music dance party at Late Bar tonight to benefit the Read/Write Library. Aw yiss.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Madge

Seen exiting the Brown Line at Fullerton at about 8:10 a.m. 

When her train pulled into the station, Madge hustled out the doors and started running as fast as her strange, stubby legs would carry her. She had precisely three minutes to get to the frozen food section of Dominick’s—the designated rendezvous point—and it was imperative that she not be even a second late. The Communications Liaison had left messages to that effect all around her apartment for several weeks now. Once he (it?) even spoke to her through the radio!

“Call within the next fifteen minutes and you’ll receive a—ZZZZZZZZ—ATTENTION MADGE: THE TELEPORTATION FIELD WILL TOUCH DOWN DIRECTLY IN FRONT OF THE LEAN CUISINE. WE LOOK FORWARD TO MEETING YOU—ZZZZZZZZ—free $20 Visa Gift Card!”

She was wearing her faded leopard-print coat (the agreed-upon sign that she was the designated passenger), and combined with her disheveled hair and flushed cheeks, Madge was afraid that people might think she was a little crazy. But it didn’t really matter. Soon she would be soaring through the stars, and the people of Earth would be small and unimportant. 

Aliens! I've never mentioned aliens before on PTKY...I think...

So we may have lost trivia last night, but we did win best team name: "Ohhhhh, I Wanna Answer Somebody! I Wanna Form a Team with Somebody! Oh, I Wanna Answer Somebody, Somebody Who Stumps Me!" Yeah, we are that awesome. And the trivia host sang it when he announced that we won, so that was very satisfying.  

New fun things to follow! People of the El is a tumblr where people submit all things CTA-related. Oh, the CTA. So crazy all the time.  Art Food Travel--a self-explanatory blog, I'd imagine. Also, you should check out @CTA_CIA on Twitter. It's like People of the El in Twitter form, and they were kind enough to give a shout-out to PTKY yesterday. Do yourselves a favor and explore these!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Marcus & Maurice

Seen on the Purple Line to Linden at about 8:35 a.m. 

Shirts under sweaters under sweatshirts under coats under scarves—all these layers make Marcus and Maurice seem much bulkier than they actually are. The two little brothers are sound asleep; Marcus’ head rests on Maurice’s shoulder. Maurice dreams of summertime. Basketballs bounce along the court of his brain, and then he is older. In fact, he’s not just older—he’s a star! He is so good at basketball that he’s going to play for the Bulls, and he’s going to be best friends with Derrick Rose, and there will be no more boring school for him.

Marcus dreams of their mother. Maurice is too young to remember her. Marcus still has trouble recalling all her subtle details during the day, but in his dreams she is loud, vibrant, alive. Her laugh is low and husky; her thick lips, smeared with sticky gloss, plant a kiss on Marcus’ forehead. He smushes his face into her soft, fat belly.

Dallying in dreamland, the boys missed the stop for their school long ago. Some of the other passengers suspect this, but none of them want to wake Marcus and Maurice up. They look so peaceful. 

I don't know about you, but I am just exhausted today. I handed out valentines and candy to strangers yesterday at Debonair. That was fun. Going to dominate at trivia tonight. 

If you haven't seen the Chicago tribune article in which Pretending to Know You was featured yet, DO IT RIGHT NOW! 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Rachel

Seen exiting the Purple Line at Fullerton at about 8:30 a.m. 

Oh. God.

That was Rachel’s initial thought when she opened her front door this morning and discovered the single red rose resting on the top step. She picked it up and examined the inscription on the ornate pink tag: “From Your Secret Admirer.” Unfortunately, it wasn’t a secret. It was Bobby.

Sweet Bobby, boring Bobby. Bobby who works in the cubicle next to Rachel’s, who always goes out of his way to talk to her and compliment her. There is nothing wrong with him, per se; there just isn’t anything right with him, either. His face isn’t ugly, but it is certainly forgettable. He pulls his pants up slightly too high. He constantly sends her links to viral videos that reached the height of their popularity years ago. (Remember THIS ONE?! :-P) He speaks fluent Elvish.

Rachel always tries to convey her lack of interest, but apparently she hasn’t tried hard enough. As the train takes her closer and closer to the office, she stares at the rose and contemplates how to go about her unenviable task: breaking Bobby’s heart on Valentine’s Day.   

It has been a lovely day. My mom sent homemade chocolate chip cookies, and, oh yeah, PRETENDING TO KNOW YOU WAS IN THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE TODAY! How exciting is that? Answer: super exciting. It's in an article about missed-connections-related art, featuring other such fabulous projects as Lovelorn Poets and Sophie Blackell's drawings. Check it out!

In other news, several new things have been added to the Links page. Storyboss writes twitter-length flash fiction. In So Hungry I Could Blog, one of my coworkers and her friend share delicious recipes. Jon Bruno is a fabulous photographer who took these pin-up photos of me on my birthday. In The Book n' Beer Place, my friend Annah eloquently writes about two life essentials: literature and beer. And finally, there's Newsical--my new project in which I try to provide a soundtrack to today's headlines. Have fun looking at those, too!  

And yeah, that was a link to Salad Fingers.  

Monday, February 13, 2012

Cassandra

Seen waiting for the Brown Line at Fullerton at about 8:20 a.m. 

Cassandra is the personification of evil—a cross between the grim reaper and a wicked witch. She is swathed head to toe in black; black fur rings her face like some kind of dead, hopeless wreath. And that face! Glaring eyes, knifepoint cheekbones, lips pressed into a horrible scowl. One glance from Cassandra and your stomach drops, your heart skips a beat, your muscles tense. You cannot move, trapped in her merciless stare until she chooses to release you.

A couple pushing a stroller exits the elevator. Cassandra stalks like a shadow behind them to the edge of the platform. Fairy tales taunt you in the back of your mind—remember how wicked witches like to treat little children! You want to stop her, but it is too late; she has turned to face the child.

She is met with curious eyes and rosy apple-cheeks. When he coos at Cassandra, the hate drains from her eyes. Her hard face melts, and what was sharp becomes soft. She smiles and waves at the infant.

“How you doin’, baby?” 

This weekend was lots of fun. We hosted a CRAZY bunch of couchsurfers, and I partied with them in Boystown. (Specifically at Roscoe's.) I don't do that too often, so it was definitely a good time. And yesterday I stayed in my pajamas all day. I highly recommend doing so. It was delightful.

Anyway, wine and drag queens tonight! And swing dancing at Fizz, hopefully.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Alvin

Seen on the Brown Line to Kimball at about 8:20 p.m., February 9th, 2012 

Alvin Parker is a busy man. His briefcase is stuffed full of contracts that ne needs to deliver, and his boss doesn’t like to be kept waiting. They were supposed to meet at Starbucks ten minutes ago, but Alvin got stuck with a difficult client during his last appointment of the day. She was trying to weasel her way out of Section IV, Clause II. Some people just refuse to accept the legally binding nature of a contract when it comes to their souls.

Alvin Parker is the private attorney of one Lucifer Mephistopheles, also known as Beelzebub, The Father of Lies, The Devil. You didn’t think Satan dealt with every soul transaction himself, did you? There are millions of people looking to strike that sinister bargain every day, and the process requires piles of paperwork. Satan only deals personally with the most important clients—high-level politicians, Popes, the occasional celebrity. If it’s just your run-of-the-mill, desperate sinner, he sends Alvin. Alvin calmly explains the terms and conditions of the standard contract, hashes out the extra details, and collects the bloody signatures. He also has the authority to monitor the clients and confirm they’re keeping their part of the deal. If not, he alerts his master, and Alvin stands by as Satan gleefully carries out his retribution.

Alvin frowns and glances at his watch.

He’ll have to understand, he thinks. He’s not going to ruin me over this…

Alvin has his own contract with Mr. Mephistopheles, and though he feels he negotiated the best possible terms for himself, the consequences of his failure would still be horrific, to say the least. He’s just not in the mood to suffer. When the train finally reaches Paulina, he dashes off to deliver the contracts and meet his fate. 

I couldn't find a good way to fit it in this story, but Alvin was also wearing pinstripe pants and a fedora with a feather in the hat band. I could have written about how sharp the man looked, but I chose not to...

Anyway, swing dancing at Code Blue tonight. Then weekend. Hopefully weekend will involve sleeping.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Taryn

Seen on the Purple Line to Linden at about 8:30 a.m. 

Taryn is knitting in penitence. She’s making purple baby mittens. Purple, like Lent. Penitence.

It wasn’t supposed to happen in the first place. But then there it was, inside of her, despite all her precautions. She panicked. She went to the clinic and ended it (killed it) right away, before it grew into something human, something she could love.

She feared that she already loved it. Which is ridiculous. How could anyone love a practically formless parasite? And what was she supposed to do, anyway? Keep it? Support it with her entry-level job? She had been the oldest one in the clinic. People stared (glared) at her. A woman of her age was supposed to be more responsible.

Taryn feels the weight of that responsibility every day. It has settled like a stone in her belly. So she is knitting a pair of baby mittens, for what had never been. 

Might have karaoked until 2 a.m. last night at Hamburger Mary's. Oops. I rocked Total Eclipse of the Heart, though. So that was awesome.

Just a friendly reminder to check out PTKY's tumblr

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Carrie-Anne

Seen on the Red Line to 95th at about 2:10 p.m.


It all began with her feet: they started to shrink a few weeks ago. Carrie-Anne thought it strange when her favorite shoes wouldn't stay on. At first they were simply loose, soon they flopped off with each step. On her way home from work that day she stopped at a Payless and bought some smaller pairs. Thank God for BOGO sales, she thought.

She got really nervous when she got home and slipped off her socks; her toenails had grown over the bump of her cuticles, and the keratin was edging up towards the center of her feet. She googled her symptoms but couldn't find anything like it. She didn't want to go to a doctor, for a doctor might confirm her greatest fear--that she was completely insane.

Over the next few days, Carrie-Anne's feet became hard and small. Her toes melded together, and her heels thickened. Meanwhile, the blood drained from her legs. They became white and soft, and dainty patterns emerged where the blue maps of her veins used to be. She couldn't understand what was happening until she went to see The Woman in Black with one of her friends. The film starts with three Victorian children having a tea party in their nursery, and Carrie-Anne suddenly realized that her legs closely resembled those of one of the guests. "Porcelain doll!" she gasped. Several of the other theater patrons shushed her.

Now she stares down at the symptoms of her disease. Delicate, white, lacy high-heeled shoes cover her delicate, white feet; thick white lines weave back and forth, back and forth, all the way up her white tights. Legs? It is a disease, she knows that now. Once Carrie-Anne was certain that she was turning into a doll, she returned to the internet, and she fortunately stumbled upon Dr. Elwood's website. He treats people like her, people morphing into toys. His website has pictures and success stories. A boy with plasticizing arms and a growing affinity for camouflage--saved from his G.I. Joe fate by Dr. Morton Elwood's Miracle Tonic! A woman with an increasingly puffy stomach, a rapidly diminishing nose, and tufts of brown fur sprouting all over her body--cured of her teddy bear transformation by Dr. Morton Elwood's Amazing High-Frequency Electric Corset!

Carrie-Anne knows how ridiculous it all sounds, but at this point Dr. Elwood is her only hope. She's currently on her way to his south-side office. He has to help her, and quickly! Her hips and abdomen are already a bit harder, her cheeks a bit rosier, her eyes a bit bluer. She already feels a little less human.

Hey all. Red Line today! I always try to write stories when I don't ride the Purple Line, because I take that one most frequently. Anyway, time for some Wednesday night fun. Meeting my friend Meg at Native Foods for dinner, then heading up to Andersonville for karaoke with the roommate. Sometimes I think I do too many things...


Did you notice the new site design? Moved all those blogs/musicians/artists/projects that you should DEFINITELY check out to a brand new Links page! It looks so much cleaner now. I've been meaning to do that for a while. Did you also notice that PTKY has a tumblr now? Now all those of you who frequent the tumblr universe can reblog my stories anytime you want. :) I'll also be posting other things I like on there. You know...generally doing the whole tumblr thing. Whatever that is. I'll figure it out. 

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Debra

Seen on the Purple Line to Linden at about 8:45 a.m. 

I have this theory that the more noticeable I make my clothing, the less noticeable I’ll be. Yellow’s a good color for this. It looks garish on most people (including myself), and it clashes wonderfully with the gray, sleepy morning. Today I’ve wrapped my too-tall, ugly-tall body in a too-big, ugly-bright yellow coat. My belly protrudes like half a lemon. I knitted myself a yellow hat the other week, and it is currently covering my thin brown hair, all the way down to the tops of my ears. The two yellows don’t quite match. When people look at me, all they’ll see is an obnoxious column of yellow, and then they’ll avert their eyes. They won’t see my pasty skin, my unfashionable glasses, my double chin. I am conspicuously inconspicuous. 

Huzzah for writing in the first person. It's always a good exercise. Last night my roommate and I started a new Monday night tradition: "Wine and Drag Queens Night." We drank wine and watched RuPaul's Drag Race. It was a great deal of fun--just as much fun as our former Monday night tradition, "Soup & Prohibition Night." (We used to eat soup and watch Boardwalk Empire.) I don't think we could combine the two traditions. Our heads would explode with awesome.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Lissa; Agnieszka

Lissa: seen on the Purple Line to Linden at about 8:40 a.m., Friday, January 27th, 2012 

Lissa’s pale face is dusted with sleep, especially her fluttering, long-lashed eyelids. If you catch a glimpse of her eyes, you can see the placid slumber swimming in her feathery gray irises. When she curls up on her side and calmly slips into the world of dreams, everyone else on the train glares at her, envious and disbelieving.

How can she fall asleep when the clunks and jerks of the train keep the rest of us awake? Just when our eyes gratefully close, so close to catching a few more winks, BAM! Besides, isn’t she worried about her responsibilities? We have classes to attend and jobs to fulfill. This girl is so hideously carefree.

Why has blissful rest chosen to wrap her in warm blankets, impervious to the tremors and distractions of the outside world? What makes her worthy?

Agnieszka: Seen on the Purple Line to Linden at about 8:30 a.m., February 6th, 2012


The bulk of Agnieszka’s winter coat emphasizes her hunched shoulders. She is crouched forward, gloved hands atop her metal cane. Every morning she wraps her head in a flowered scarf that was her mother’s. She is the very picture of wise old age, and yet Agnieszka is afraid. She often feels that her scarf is the only thing keeping all those feelings, memories, trials, and joys inside her mind. For her age may bring wisdom, but it also pulls away parts of her humanity. Food doesn’t taste like it used to. Her shaky hands prevent her from writing clearly. Sometimes she forgets that her husband is dead. When will age snatch away her wisdom, too?

Sorry it's been so long! The past week has been somewhat crazy. There was, for instance, the unexpected trip to the ER on my birthday (nothing serious--I just might have had appendicitis, but apparently not), and then there was all the birthday celebrating over the weekend--potluck, Delilah's, swing dancing, pin-up photo shoot, Chicago Cultural Center's "Morbid Curiosities" exhibit (DEFINITELY check that out), and The Woman in Black. It was a lovely weekend, and hopefully I can get the blog back on track now.