Hello and welcome to a Writing Wednesday! So, i’ve decided to start doing these again. Every Wednesday i will write from the perspective of a different person, but the same day, same city, same place. It will make sense as the story carries on. Welcome to “The Boy On The Subway.”
My alarm wakes me up at six thirty for school. Another boring Monday at The Cinema School, aka the high school my dad is forcing me to attend so i can become a film producer just like him. The reason my mom, the mediator, didn’t stop him from enrolling me is because she’s too caught up in her fashion designing. And, my brother is only seven so he couldn’t do anything. As if on cue, my bedroom door swings open.
“Lucille! You’re gonna be late!” Daniel, my brother, yells and starts to jump on my bed and on me, since I’m still in my bed. “It’s already six forty-five! Dad left a few minutes ago and said you’ll have to take the subway because he would be late for work!” Great excuse, dad. Fourth time this month. He only said that because he’s embarrassed for people to see him with me. You see, I’m not really like most people in New York, and since my family is basically famous because of him, everyone thinks I’m an example of him. And if thats the case I’m a horrible example.
“Go away, Daniel!” i say. My voice reverberates around the entire house and he stops jumping. I feel his knees fall onto my bed and then he starts crying. I always forget that he has down syndrome; to me he’s just my brother. I turn around and face my messy room. Daniel is sitting on the end of the bed, wearing his school uniform and spider-man shoes. I swing my legs over the side of the bed and throw my arm over his shoulder. “Hey, you know i didn’t mean it, D.” He turns to me and finally stops crying.
“You didn’t?” he asks.
“Nope. I just need to get ready so i don’t miss my only other transportation to school. Did dad say i have to take you to school too?” i ask. he nods and wipes his face. “Okay. Go eat breakfast and ill be down once I’m ready.”
“Okay, Loo,” he says and smiles, pouncing out of my room and down the stairs, shouldering his book bag along the way. I finally have a few minutes of peace. What? Im not being mean; I’m basically his mom now that my mom got a job and it’s tiring!
Ten minutes later, I’ve put on my school uniform, a plaid skirt, gray top, gray tights, and instead of the dress-code mary-janes, i slip on my black converse. I grab my backpack, which is black, and go down the stairs. I grab a piece of toast, make sure Daniel eats something, and then we walk out the door. We make it to the subway station in minutes. Daniel goes to a “special school”, as we tell him, which is right next door to mine so it’s easy to bring him.
I keep a hold of Daniels hand as we walk to scan our subway passes. I scan mine and Daniel’s and then we stand, waiting for the subway to come. I look around as we wait and do something I’ve done all of my life; make fake life stories for people i see in public places. I start with a girl who can’t be older than me but looks it because of what she’s wearing, doing, and her hair. She has boy-short red hair, she’s wearing a black leather jacket, jeans, and a black shirt with a rock band I’ve never heard of. She’s also carrying a skateboard and when she turns my way i see… what is that? It almost looks like a scar running across the right side of her head, which is buzzed shorter than the other side. A scar from what is unknown. I realize i must be staring because when i meet her eyes, she glares and lifts her fist, extending one finger that shouldn’t be extended with kids nearby: the middle one. I avert my eyes back to the empty tunnels.
“What’s wrong with him?” I hear a voice ask behind me. i turn away from the tunnels and see a man in a business suit, glasses that look fake, and a briefcase that has paper poking out of it. I stare at him for a second and he takes that as me not understanding. “I said what’s wrong with him?”
“Excuse me?” i ask and grip tighter to Daniel, my arm sliding up to near his shoulder.
“Are you the retarded one or is he?” the guy asks. I make a disgusted face but reply the way I’ve wanted to for the longest time.
“Why is he retarded?” I ask in the most “adult-ly” voice possible.
“I mean, look at him,” he motions to Daniel who doesn’t seem to be paying any attention and I’m glad. Lots of people are now looking between the business guy and me. Everything is silent because there is no subway and people are listening to us.
“What’s wrong with the way he looks?” i ask. But, my adult voice is peeling away to a much more angry one. No one has the right to say that about my brother. “Just because he doesn’t look like you or looks different doesn’t mean he’s retarded. Just because he has down syndrome doesn’t mean he is retarded. He isn’t just a mess-up, he has a name and it’s Daniel. Daniel has a brain and Daniel also has ears and i don’t want Daniel to hear you make assumptions just because of a medical condition so, if you’ll excuse me.”
I grip Daniel harder and step right past the business man, on a high I’ve never felt before. I walk past him and everyone else just as they start to cheer. Clapping and cheers reverberate off of the walls just like my voice did in my house earlier. I grip Daniel tighter and don’t let go until the subway comes.
We get into one of the last cars and it’s empty.
“Can i play?” Daniel asks. He asks this every time we get onto the subway because i make sure we are alone.
“Sure, little one. When we move you have to come sit with me though,” i say and take his backpack. I sit at one of the ends as he runs around, climbing over the seats and dangling from the bars. The doors stay open and as they close, Daniel and I still alone, i exhale. But, then a hand grabs the door before it can shut all the way. A boy my age slides into the subway car and now Daniel and i aren’t alone. He takes his hand away just before the doors shut. I take him in. He has dark curly hair that just touches his shoulders, tan skin, broad shoulders, and is in my schools uniform. He’s definitely not from around here. Probably a Californian or something from the West Coast.
“Hello,” he says and waves. I realize i must’ve been staring and making up his life.
“Hi,” i say back. I look over to Daniel, who is now dangling from one of the standing bars. “D, don’t hurt yourself,” i say. “Dad will ground me for the rest of my life if i have to take you to the hospital.” The boy walks over and sits in the seat one away from me.
“Strict parents too?” he asks and sighs, stretching out.
“Yes,” i say. I smile to myself because he has no idea who i am. I hate when people approach me knowing my name and life story and this kid has no idea.
“Why are you smiling?” Daniel yells out. I suddenly realize he’s right in front of my face. His chubby finger pokes my cheek and i swat it away.
“No reason,” i say and drop the smile. He shrugs and turns around, marching to go climb on something else.
“You go to TCS too?” the boy asks. i turn back to him and see he’s staring at me. I nod. “Really? I haven’t seen you there,” he says. i shrug.
“I just started this semester, for junior year,” i say. He looks down to the floor of the subway, then smiles. “What?”
“Someone isn’t following dress code,” he says and points to my shoes. I look down and smile too.
“It’s too strict. My dad is forcing me to go,” i say.
“Really? I practically begged my mom to let me move here. I lived in LA,” i was right. “I just started this semester too. I wonder why i haven’t seen you around.” I shrug.
“Are you a subway regular?” i ask.
“Nope. I slept through my alarm and my mom refused to drive me to school. Thats why i got so far back on the subway,” he says and looks to me. I think to myself, what a coincidence. If he would’ve set his alarm, he wouldn’t be riding the subway. If dad hadn’t been selfish and made me ride the subway, i wouldn’t be sitting here right now. If Daniel hadn’t wanted to play, i wouldn’t have gotten a car in the back. If his mom hadn’t refused to drive him to school, he wouldn’t have been his far back on the subway. If everything in his and my life never happened, we wouldn’t be sitting here and we would never have met.
“Everything happens for a reason,” i say to myself. At least, i thought i did until he turns to me, smiles, and says,
“That it does.”
Thanks for reading and please like, comment any suggestions, feedback, or questions, and follow for weekly posts! Come back next Wednesday for this from the perspective of the skateboarder, who will tell you her life, her story, and why she rode the subway that day. Until next time,