Between Strangers on a Train: Ether

The last sound to fade into ether is yours, laughter. In its absence you recount its presence. You recount the shared members of the exclusive group.

Everyone has turned away, and you are left looking at them in pieces.

You can’t remember what was said.

But you imagine, for a moment, that you are one of them.

You go this way often and their profiles are familiar and the silence is comfortable.

You are one of them.
Vainly you attempt to recapture what was lost, the elusiveness of the moment skirting past you as a dream. A yawn breaks upon her lips, and silent words pass over his, and you imagine that they are, both of them, meant for you.

When next you speak someone will hear you, you think desperately.

You reach into your mind to discern what first brought you together, here, on this train.

In the midst of your recollection your foot is trod on and he meets your eyes.

His smile is half formed and brilliant, and you live a million moments in the one.

Vaguely you consider how tenuous your link with what is real must be, but he holds your gaze until you pull it away.

You remember the source of the laughter. A joke about Mondays–predictable enough for you to forget.

You connect again with them in the remembrance. You are in the captured moment one of them.

The scent of sandalwood and wintergreen travels over you and you only want to be there, anonymous, working up the will–

He interrupts your musing with, “hello”

And your heart shudders to a halt and swept into the violence of unfounded ardor you fall, irrevocably into ether.