character story: waiting for nothing.

Person: Middle-aged man sitting at a train station. A folded newspaper is in his lap, and he stares straight ahead without emotion. 

The train would roll up any moment now. It's already 5 minutes late. Although it doesn't matter when it gets here––it's not like he can run late without an agenda––he's impatient, jittery or maybe he's anxious? He can't tell. 

He's a respectable man, and he looks it. He's even wearing a jacket today and a cap to press down the top of his stubborn, bristly and somewhat-graying hair. He could be a lawyer, a banker; he could be a Wall Street man. Why is he getting looks from the others sitting at the station? He doesn't let himself look around anymore. He's focusing on the cracks in the pavement in front of him. They're in the shape of, well, nothing. Ironic, he thinks. 

Let them look. Let them stare. It's the most attention he'll get for the unforeseeable future. He's sure of it.

His stare turns completely blank, and his thoughts take a turn. He's never quite felt the way he feels right now––wrongly pegged. And without discussion. Without any interaction, either. Has he just been so utterly absorbed that he's never noticed before? He's never taken the train. It's not like he's a regular passenger. Honestly, he thinks of trains as obsolete... he trails off. 

People do this, he muses. Don't they? They'll see someone and form a judgment just like that, won't they? His eyes focus and unfocus on the converging pavement lines. He'd done that to people many times before. Unintentionally, of course. He feels the whole world is confused. If everyone's making each other feel accused or shunned, he's not really up for that. 

He's done thinking about it. It's of no consequence. He has too much nothing on his mind to keep him occupied. Nothing. Not even the newspaper with all it's doom-and-gloom headlines could distract him from the sudden blankness. He's had a full life, so much going for him. Where does he go from here? Ah, no point thinking about it. He just wants the train to arrive. 

And it does. Just a moment later, he hears rolling over the tracks and two whistles in the distance. He's happy and relieved––two unexpected emotions––though he begins to realize why something as trivial as a train arriving means so much to him. All those years of waiting, he whispers. For her. For her.  

He reaches for the crumpled newspaper, pats his hat down and walks away. Now he can start over.

 Read more about my character stories here, and find more of them here.