The first time she pushed someone in front of a train it was an accident.
It was approaching five o’clock, the peak of the evening commute, and the station was starting to fill up. Shay walked briskly through the crowd, wanting to reach the far end of the platform as quickly as possible to get in line for the very last, and usually less crowded, car. Her backpack was stuffed with portfolio pieces, framed photographs, and various other memorabilia that had made its way in to her office over the past three years. It was time to move on – and she was glad for it.
Wind blew into the station from the dark train tunnel, blasting stale air with unexpected force that grew exponentially stronger the closer Shay got to the tunnel’s opening at end of the platform.
“Damn,” she hissed dejectedly. The line for the last car was unbelievably long. She glanced up at the arrival screen – four minutes left before her train would be pulling in to the platform; more than enough time to skedaddle to the other end and get on the first car instead . . .
Her short hair, haphazardly layered and highlighted, whipped wildly around her face when she turned and headed back in the opposite direction, away from the wind. Her hair gave an edge to her appearance that Shay knew her personality did not live up to, so she avoided eye contact (as usual) as she shuffled through the crowd, pausing only once to shift her backpack from one shoulder to the other.
“Hey!” A swollen man grumbled and gave her a small shove as she tried to squeeze past. Shay winced slightly, but kept her head down and said nothing as she continued on her way. The platform grew more crowded as the moments passed and she silently cursed the evening commuters that swarmed around her. Lately, she’d felt compelled to make small steps, baby steps, toward changing her timid tendencies, but she had a long way to go. She wanted to push her way through the crowd and tell anyone who didn’t like it to fuck off, but just the thought of it made her light-headed. That was too much. Quitting her job had been step one. Step two was unknown and that frightened her – but she figured that was the point. She laughed to herself then, remembering her other new bold move, the one that had caused all of her trouble to begin with – the lipstick. Dark and brown, it accentuated her lips, forming a mischievous pout, which she had discovered was impossible to ignore. She moved her hand to the side of her pack, feeling around for the elusive tube of lipstick as she continued on.
Distracted by the booming voice announcing the approaching train, Shay hardly noticed the little old lady as she approached her. The woman was bent over a bag, organizing various fruits she must have just purchased at the market. Shay felt the lipstick and jerked it out of the side clasp triumphantly, causing the heavily weighted backpack to swing down forcefully from her shoulder and slam into the poor woman, sending her sprawling on to the tracks. There was nothing Shay could do; nothing anyone could do, beyond watch in horror as the woman made a desperate grab for the edge of the platform. The train was too fast. It was all too fast. The horn blaring, the brakes screeching . . . and in an instant she was gone.