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January 6th. Upon boarding the Broad Street Line at Tasker/Morris, I chose a seat that would tell me more about myself than I was prepared to learn that morning.

I felt eyes looking near me, but not at me. The lady sitting in front of me, perpendicularly, kept looking up frightened. Then, from behind me, I started to hear the sobbing, and the words “oh lord, just fuckin kill me.”

At first I thought this was a nutjob whose crazy crying rants I would have to ignore for my duration of the ride. It got much worse.

“You said you fuckin wanted me dead, then fuckin do it. Just fuckin kill me!” By Ellsworth/Federal, I realized she wasn’t trying to talk to her lord, rather she was using his name for dramatic effect. I thought she was on her phone, crying out to some wayward lover who had done her wrong.

“You posted on that facebook group message that you wanted me dead, well just do it!” I refused to turn around. I never did see what she looked like. What I did see were the looks of concern on the other riders’ faces. Although it was not the “oh, this poor girl” looks of concern. It was “oh, poor me, to have to witness this” kind of looks.

Before the next stop, I realized that she was sitting next to the person she was talking to; and it was not a phone exchange. Things got tense when the talking in the crowded car was almost only her sobs and cries to end her life.

We stopped at Lombard/South. A group of people squeezed in, obstructing people’s view of the show. I wondered if I blocked some’s view when I came on. Now I understand the tension I came into.

Context clues. I could tell she pulled out a knife by the way people gasped. “Just fuckin stab my throat! Fuckin do it!” The lady in front of me tried to get off at Lombard/South, but couldn’t make it to the door. People had the look as if they almost wanted to help. No one did. I kept my eyes out the window, occasionally watching reactions in the reflection. No one was recording video on their phones; I found that odd. I also found it odd that I found that odd.

The couple made their way to the door further behind me, their play’s dialogue fading. They got off at Walnut/Locust. The lady in front of me, I think Walnut/Locust was her real destination, but she stayed on until City Hall. No one said anything. We all had some stench of guilt on us for watching while doing/saying nothing. Voyueristic shame. I especially felt detached from the world, as I was thinking of how unnecessary the entire ordeal was; how I can’t understand how one can be so emotional about something so petty, in the grand scheme of life. But I’m not in that moment that she is.

I get off at City Hall, and start walking towards the green stairs to Suburban Station. I walk past two older ladies talking, either unmoved or unaware of what happened in the subway car I was in. Speaking of Christmas, one says to the other, “It was just money in an envelope. That’s all they really want.”

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