By Roshni Riar, Staff Writer
The woman in front of you
is sniffling, flecks of mascara
peppered around her watery eyes.
She’s texting her daughter, telling her
- no. You wonder what she’s denying.
Her throat bobs.
A man behind you mumbles something
into his damp tissue; he has a cough
that rattles in his chest like a kettle
fighting against steam. You look
back at him and he stares through
you, his focus somewhere miles away.
A block of texts pile up from your
mother, straining your coat with
the weight. Replying to her could
kill time—you know this—but
you don’t. Just feel the shape
of her concern tug at you,
testing the stitches of your pocket.
The baby facing you keeps
trying to catch your eye, shining
curiosity scanning the slope of
your nose. Stare at your book hard,
rereading the same sentence until
your stop approaches. Avoid her gaze
at all costs. Don’t let her see
where she could possibly end up.