Seen on the Brown Line to Kimball at about 8:15 p.m., March 22nd, 2011
Marco knows the nightmares will come if he sleeps in his bed. Melting faces, screaming dogs, living forks and knives—all manner of horrors. Luckily, he has found a way to escape them.
After he has rinsed off their dinner plates, Marco goes into his bedroom while his mother starts one of her telenovelas. No matter how dramatic the story, she always dozes off while watching them; Marco finds her every morning curled up on the threadbare couch wearing her clothes from the day before. When the telenovela ends he slips into jeans and a polo shirt. He needs to look respectable, like a little adult, or people will question why he’s alone. He opens his window and shuffles down the drainpipe to the alley below. It’s only one floor.
Marco scampers to the Brown Line station. Sometimes he goes towards Kimball, and sometimes he goes towards the Loop. It doesn’t really matter. Once he’s on a train, he sets his iPod alarm for 2 a.m. That’s when the Brown Line stops running, so he gets off wherever he is and, his head still foggy from dreamless slumber, sleeps on the platform until the trains start up again at 4 a.m. His mother saved for months to get him the iPod for Christmas. It’s probably the most useful thing she’s ever given him, but she’d be furious if she knew how Marco uses it.
With the alarm set and the headphones securely plugged inside his ear canals, Marco lets the rumbling of the train lull him to sleep. The deep, chugging noise is like a bolder lullaby, and he feels more secure in the worn plastic seats than he does in his mother’s arms. What’s more, the fluorescent lights and the screeching wheels scare the nightmares away. It is the perfect place to rest.
Excited that I actually managed to post a story. Work is CRAZY this week, so I think the stories are going to be few and far between for a little while. I hope to get back to them soon!