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Chase (standard:Flash, 1866 words)
Author: AnastasiaAdded: May 10 2005Views/Reads: 1929/1092Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
A teenager has traveled across the country in search of a girl, but is confronted with complications upon his arrival.

New York, I think, no one places trust in you. On the subways, I watch:
I watch strangers rush inside, before they are told to stand clear of 
the closing doors, and I watch them sit down with seats in between, as 
if they fear being in the proximity of another stranger. A stranger one 
way is a stranger the other. I watch strangers whose thighs touch. I 
watch them steal half-curious, half-suspicious glances at each other, 
always avoiding the acquaintance of one another's eyes. I wonder what 
they are looking for. Are they looking for danger, or are they hoping 
to one day find someone they've lost? A grown son, or an ex-lover. A 
sister or a favorite high school teacher. 

I feel exposed as strangers quickly scan me while they pretend not to,
thinking that maybe I am an old friend or foe. Displeased by the subway 
etiquette, I get off at the next stop and plan to take a cab to 
wherever I'm going, but I'm not quite sure where that is. I am, 
however, surprised when I am exposed to an entirely different 
demographic upon my emergence above the ground: I am the only scraggly 
white kid in my line of vision, the only wanderer in a densely 
populated residential area. A heavy black woman asks me if I'm lost. I 
am. I forget to say yes, though. She leaves me on the street corner to 
decipher a subway map on my own. Unable to pinpoint my exact location 
and growing impatient with the overwhelming grids, I give up. I scan 
the bustling intersection for a particular familiar face. I look in the 
back seats of taxi cabs and peer into store windows. A weak attempt to 
feed a pedomorphic hope for something that I know is impossible. 

I end up walking, walking walking walking for hours, only stopping to
indulge in a meager meal made up of a compressed sandwich and warm 
water that has taken on the taste of its plastic container. And then I 
walk for some time more. I begin to recognize the area I'm in as the 
Brooklyn neighborhood where my mother grew up. I smile in amusement, 
thinking that maybe I was supposed to end up here. Maybe there is 
something in store for this day. 

Shielded by the confines of a telephone booth, I dial the operator to
look up an old friend. Jay White. I know she lives around here 
somewhere. She doesn't know I'm around. The operator finds her, and 
connects me. As the phone rings, I am thinking about how long it has 
been since I last saw Jay, and I am just about to hang up as I realize 
it's been three years and she has probably forgotten me. But then she 
picks up the phone. She says she is on her way out, to a party. I am 
invited to the party, but it's upstate, about an hour. If I'm okay with 
that, she says, she can pick me up right now if I'm ready. 

Ready, I repeat. The word tastes sour on my tongue as it bounces around
in some hole in my brain. I've got a tattered backpack full of the bare 
necessitiesócigarettes, underwear, t-shirts and a tooth brush. I'm far 
too ready while I'm far from ready. I only lose belongings and gain 
nothing except a longer beard. I can't differentiate. 

Where am I, she wants to know. And am I coming? I tell her that I'm not
looking for any exciting New York night life, and I'd be glad to join 
her. I'm ready, I say. I tell her where I am. 

Driving to the party, we listen to music along the way, singing loudly
with the windows down and pretending that our voices are beautiful. We 
listen to the music we listened to the summer we met. We met when I was 
living in Nantucket with my aunt and cousins, when my mother was sick. 
She's better now. But at sixteen, circumstances were unfortunate and I 
was left with no choice but to stay with extended family. They stayed 
out of my way, though. And I, in turn, stayed out of theirs. 

Anyway, I met Jay there. 

The sun is brighter here, out on the highway and away from the city. I
don't feel suffocated by the gray of the tops of buildings, buildings 
that angrily cast the sunlight back into the clouds. I smile down the 
open road, sticking my hand out the window, letting it ride the wind 
like ocean waves. Pacific Ocean waves. A sudden disturbance to my 
peace, I feel a wrenching pain in my chest as I think back on the West 
Coast I left behind for this. I left too much there. And New York has 
only proven to be overrated thus far. 

But I don't want to think about that now. I am already here. And I must
keep my eye on the prize. 

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