No pain. No happiness. No anger. Air

Every movement was painful and slow. Methodical and heavy. She walked on nails to a seat and fell in. Pulled closer the Hawaiian floral backpack on her lap. Her body was floating – half in water, half in tar. She crossed her worn gray Keds, opened her pitched-roof mouth.

Next to her, a graying man in black-rimmed glasses glanced at a list and quickly folded it back into his breast pocket. The city smeared into one long line of glass and steel outside the train car. He wouldn’t glanced at her. Her eyes closed languidly, opened again. They were newly formed sea glass. Broken still, shining blue and endless. You could see nothing behind them but air. No pain. No happiness. No anger. Air.

A Brisk Pink Lemonade tilted between her legs. She pinched the cap with two bloated fingers. Turned. Released. Turned. Released. Turned. In one final sisyphean effort, the cap lay uncharted in her hand. She stared too long; picked up the weight of the bottle, graced the florescent liquid to her lips, took no more than a teaspoon, let out a small gasp. Lifted again. Sipped.

The morning commute pushed past her. The gray man, stoop up at Osborn. She barely moved her legs. The tight jeans sealed her body into place. Looking out the open door. Air. Breathe. Look back in. Bicycles wheeled. The bells. The metal sliding tracks. The roll. Lulled. Eyes opened and closed. She unfastened a package of sour patch kids, fished one into her mouth. Bite. Release. Bite. She oscillated her head to a man sitting opposite. Noticed a black binder pinched between his thumbs.
“Are you in drug corp?” Each word left her mouth in a separate bubble, wandering across the car until they reached him.

He responded quickly. “Yeah, were you in it? What was the deal?”

“Oh. They made me do rehab for,” she paused, “15 months.” Paused. She glanced back to open space. Air. “I’ve been clean ever since,” she said believing herself. No pain. No anger. Nothing. Air.
The train stopped at McDowell. She rolled her breakfast into her backpack pocket, grabbed the metal bar, pulling her body from the water, tar. Staggered. Walked into the desert light.

The man looked after her, then around the car. Laughed to himself and whoever was watching. “She’s high as a kite! Clean my ass.”

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