The Walk is a 2-part story. People with different lifestyles can become friends for reasons that are unique to them. Enjoy Part 1. Thanks.
The five commuters on train sixteen would not look at one another. They would share a quick glance and look down at the floor or away.
The mood amongst them was not like the mornings were four days ago. Now, no one said hello. There was no talk of family, friends, weekends, and the everyday hassles of life. Everyone was somber. The atmosphere was heavy.
Shame was part of the atmosphere. Selfish guilt was on all their minds. Yet they shared a sense of relief. But they were too embarrassed to talk about it. Any signs of happiness would show their lack of responsibility for what happened. The act of trying to be sensitive was stifling. It ruined their normally uneventful ride.
The fact was they had not killed the homeless man. The elements did it. They may have indirectly assisted. But the elements shouldered some of the responsibility. The man himself was most responsible. He was the main culprit of his demise. Not them.
For eleven months, that man had terrorized them. He deserved what he got. They all agreed to that. The morning they heard about the homeless man’s death, they talked on the train. They vowed to never talk about it again. They had not spoken to one another for two days.
Everything was fine before that homeless man arrived. The five’s relationship had fit nicely with the train schedule. They were from different walks of life. Jeff was a financial analyst. Cassie was a paralegal. Dalton was a maintenance man. Bryan was an electrician. Dara was an insurance attorney. The train ride brought them together. It created a fifteen-minute social group. Then, the homeless man ruined it.
Monday through Friday train sixteen had arrived at its morning stop. At seven a.m. the same five passengers were the last to get off. The end of the line was what the conductor called it.
The five would disembark from the train. From the side of the train station, they walked together to Tenth and Far street. It was a fifty-meter walk down a narrow street. It looked like an alley. Not the safest either. But the group of five was comfortable together.
At Tenth and Far Street the group went their separate ways. But, not before saying they would see each other that night or tomorrow.
It was on that fifty-meter walk down the alley that the five first encountered the homeless man. He had not always been there. He showed up eleven months ago and never left.
On that fifty-meter walk in the alley, the man walked behind them. He first asked for money. When they did not give him money he called them names. They were subjected to the worse language of their lives. Every conceivable degrading name for a woman or man spewed from his mouth. The daily barrage of verbal assaults became normal and grew worse.
The five complained that the homeless man had ruined the start of their days. They joked that they wanted to kill the man after three months. But, instead of killing him, they took their complaints to the police. Nothing came of it.
The police told them the man had a right to be on the street, just as they did.
The group told the train’s management about the man. The management did not have any power over anything beyond their trains and stations.
The five endured the homeless man’s verbal assaults day after day. Their five-day workweek was akin to going through hell every morning.
The man relished his ability to get under their skin. It was as if he found an open sore on them and shoved his fingers in it. He did not only yell and curse them. He got closer and closer to them when he did.
Two in the group suggested taking a taxi or Uber or Lyft to their offices from the train station. Others said that they enjoyed the walk and refused to give it up to avoid the man.
The man seemed to know it had become a “test of wills.” His verbal assaults got more vitriol.
The five waited and prepared for the day when the man would become violent. Three in the group began carrying mace. One began carrying a knife in his pocket. The other carried a gun.
Groups can get protective when their territory is threatened.
I hope you enjoyed Part 1.
Thank you for stopping by.