He awoke suddenly, the screeching of the subway breaks still echoing in his ears. The rhythmic balancing of the subway cart was eerily soothing.
As he looked around confused at the old wooden chairs he noticed a illuminated plaque on the upper part of the front side wall. The small L.E.D.s changed from the word “NEXT” to the word “LOXLEY”.
The chair he was sitting on was made from a hard wood with a shape meant to straighten the back. His hand touched what appeared to be his backpack.
He was alone in the cart.
Eventually he got up and stumbled to a map of the subway network as the cart swayed and swong, but after looking at it for awhile he noticed his face in the window. The black exterior of the tunnel made the window into a rudimentary mirror. He was wearing a brown leather jacket with a blue shirt and after looking down surprised he noticed his beige pants and brown+ leather boots that were almost to his knee.
The train stopped and the oval wooden doors on the right retracted and so he got off.
In front of him was a small coffee shop , seemingly embedded into the brick wall. The pattern of the brick was convergent to a point on the top of station from where a electrified chandelier hanged in an comic attempt to illuminate the area.
Additional lanterns were on the walls leading to the circular staircases of both sides of the station and on the entrance of the coffee shop.
He had never seen a red brick subway station, but the small square yellow tiles that paved the floor, he was sure he had seen before. They were worn down as if rivers of people had eroded them in time.
“Le Pink Trabant” was the name of the cafe and the sound of laughter and and people talking suddenly seem to come from inside.
He pulled the french stile door and entered. The cafe was empty, the only sound he could hear was of the entrance bell that was hit by the door.
As he stepped further into the cafe , past the entrance archway a cold air came from the left side and pulled him into a darker part of the shop where the light did not reach.
Walking towards the darkness a ray of light hit his eyes from the right.
– There you are! A woman said. You were so late I thought you weren’t going to show up.
Her warm voice filled the room and she hugged him as an old friend would after a long separation.
– Come have seat. She continued to say. The bright orange light of the morning sun peered through the laced curtains and fell on the young woman’s silver blond hair.
– I have good news. She said smiling while reaching for her cup. The tea set was of beautiful pure white china with bright red raspberry motifs. She was wearing a light peach colored suit with an odd looking little white fox on her shoulders.
He never liked dead animal skins.
– My uncle has agreed to fund your expedition, isn’t that great? She said.
– Aah ? Came his first response . I suppose it is.
She was about to sip from the cup , her pink lips just about to touch the brim when she stopped to laugh. She had a sweet laugh and her light blue eyes closed slightly when she laughed.
– Full of enthusiasm as always , can’t you smile for me once? But where are my manners would you like something to drink or eat? This cake is wonderful. Forest berries cream and the turkey sandwiches here are delicious. And with a flick of her had a waiter appeared.
As she engaged in a conversation with the waiter he noticed her long white fingers had black nails that probably were assorted with the black pearls around her neck, ears and hair pins. She wore a wine colored blouse with cleavage that peek through the white fluffy fur that seemed to merge with her long platinum hair. On top she had a butter colored suit and her hair was braided, giving her a rather formal look compared to himself. Her overall features are round and soft, but her face is to long for a woman he thought, and she was too tall for his taste.
Before he could say what he wanted to eat the waiter had turned around and disappeared through an archway. Plants were hanging over it and only now he realized that plants were all over the place,at the bar, in every window , table and separee fence.
-You know you have to put on your best clothes and give a great show? She asked rhetorically. You’ll have to impress them . Your long dandy chestnut hair will impress any girl but not these men, also I insist you get a shave. The whole rugged adventurer look is charming but …
-What, a haircut … and shave?
-I will miss your hair, but such lush locks will probably intimidate the bold and ageing.
-Did you just call my hair dandy? My hair is not dandy …it’s well kept. I’m sure you of all people can appreciate that?
-Indeed I like all things posh. And then she smiled with a trace of malice.
Don’t forget, we’ll meet at…
THE INFERNAL RING of his mobile and he was back in his bed, cold sweat in the damp morning air. He managed to shut the alarm off when a cold wind blew from the window. He fell back into the slightly warm bed. The paint was peeling of the ceiling.
Another day same routine, still balding, still getting fatter …he thought to himself as he was brushing his teeth in front of the mirror. He ran his fingers through his hair to see how far the hairline had receded. The prognosis…not favorable.