The little white pillpublished: 2010-09-07
He came and sat next to me. In the train, the rain. The rain. So much rain. He said. I think he said that. The rain is a pain. Or was it the train?
His coming to sit next to me was more like a drop than a sitting down. It was a buckling of the knees. His duffel bag hit me, then – as it settled firmly across his lap – pushed me to the window.
What was that awful smell?
He was young, thirty at the most. And properly dressed. He took out a tattered dishcloth and blew his nose in it. He stood up: Firm build. Strong. Then clunked down again.
I put on my ear-phones and hid behind a book, leaned my head against the window, as far away from him as possible. I did not put the music on too loud, and did not allow my knee against his.
On staring outside, past the train, and even further than the rain, I saw him jump up, hold my neck with one hand while continually bashing my face with the fist of his other hand. Just as I thought it couldn’t get any worse, it did. A few punches wouldn’t settle him, he wanted my teeth smashed to smithereens, my eyeballs to bleed. Still he wouldn’t stop, not even when someone – that man sitting in the other booth – tried to say stop. By then it was too late.
There was movement beside me. I turned the music off, glanced at him as he zipped open his bag and the smell got worse. He put a small, white pill on the table I had put my book on. His hands shook. He needed to take one, quick. I wanted to offer him my water but he swallowed it dry.
After a few minutes he complained about the rain again. Or the train. I nodded to him and smiled, even though he did not look at me.