Thursday, 20 November 2008

The Melancholy Gnat

a title by jack diaz,
a story by j. f. hawkins,
a small contribution by tina de souza,

She was sitting in the last carriage of the last train of the evening. It seemed to be moving at a snail's place. A sickly feeling and irritated fluorescent light couldn't decide whether or not it was going to be on or off. Pooling at her feet was the sticky debris of unwanted Dr. Pepper.

She wanted to move from the spot, but had concluded that the seat she was in was the lesser of a damned-commuter’s evils. A pile of chewing gum sat on the seat next to her and last night's sick was on the seat in front. She welcomed the company of spilt soda comparatively.

Was she on the train to or from hell?

There was no one on the train, given it was so late in the evening and the destination wasn’t very popular. Every now and then, she would whisper words and sing little songs to her self; she sang in the small voice, the one that’s made in the top of the mouth, at the back of the throat. It was fragile and sweet. She didn’t want anyone to hear her. But wanted to hear something- other than an unidentified buzz that was coming from behind her.

It a tragic scene. She felt like she was in some Russian play- the sort that suggested the most human of experience can only be found in grey clouds and impossible circumstance. There is no silver linings. Only searching. There is no point. Only a frustrating end.

Communists? One of them feels bad so they share the feeling with everyone. That’s why it doesn’t work; but probably not the only reason.

She had resisted trying to find the source of the buzzing. But now she had to find out what it was. She sat up and turned around, digging her knees into the crease in the green vinyl seat. Her kneecap found a misplaced piece of lego. So small, so painful.

She reached down to rub her knee. She moved her gaze from her sore join, to the seat behind her; there she found a Gnat with a tiny packet of tissues. It was crying as it drank a small bottle of red wine; it was sipping from a novelty-style bendy straw that kept eluding it's mouth.

The buzzing stopped, the Gnat looked up and asked her to mind her own business.

Not knowing how to react, she didn’t. Immediately, she turned around and sat bolt upright, starring straight forward to the front of the carriage.

The train came to her stop and she got up to leave. Still feeling awkward about her encounter with the melancholy gnat, she tried not to look at it as she passed by its seat. She shuffled down the stairs and out of the doors.

When she got outside, it was raining.

jf. x

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