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  • Lorraine Johnson

[54] And She Was Gone

She was there when I got on the train. Her short, cropped, black hair held in place by a long but wide strip of cloth which rested across her forehead. She wore a tattered sweater with a pair of faded, checked polyester pants, which she rolled up just above the knee in an attempt to cool herself from the new summer sun. A pair of mismatched socks she wore on her feet, which she slid into a pair of oversized plastic slippers. She had a plastic bag, carrying all she knew that was precious.

I watched her for some time, she had that look in her eye that if written on paper would read like an incoherent conversation. I looked around trying to observe if others saw her too—this grown woman walking through life seemingly completely unaware of space and time—as if she was alone. Or maybe not.

As the train started to slow, she stood up, held onto the safety bar while she began to amuse herself with her reflection in the glass door. I watched her. She was happy and very pleased with what she saw. She decided to roll up her sweater waist high, I suppose she thought it more fashionable. She began to twist, moving her body back and forth in a sort of innocent, dance-like movement, as she tried to see her reflection from every angle.

The train came to a full stop. She stepped out, and after looking both ways, she turned and was gone. The day was June 3, 1990.


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