Short City Story
The rain poured harder than I had ever seen, especially for October. The canopies and gutters lining the streets spewed miniature waterfalls, drenching unfortunate pedestrians. My apartment was only 2 blocks away, but my day had been hard enough already to brave the walk. I attempted to hail a taxi, but the high demand kept me far from the curb. Down the street about 30 yards away a lone cab finally lined the sidewalk. Seizing the opportunity I half ran, half walked, to meet the taxi before it found a passenger. A woman, about my age, appeared from a doorway and hailed the driver. Taking the risk of sharing a ride, I continued down the sidewalk and yelled, “Hold the cab!” There was not even a hint that she heard me. I continued, and a few steps later I tried my luck again, “Hey! Hold the cab!” Again, no hint of a response as she quickly opened the door to the cab. Half a step later she casually looked down the street, noticing me. With no indication she had heard my cries she yelled to me, “Hey! do you need to share a taxi?” Finally, some good luck.
By the time I reached my destination I was already soaked to the bone. As I entered the back seat I was greeted with a smile, returned with a quick thank you. To counter the pleasant mood the cabbie barked from the front, “Where to?”. “Haines and 27th”, I sputtered caught off guard. A slight grunt told me he was unhappy my destination was so close. The woman next to me continued her polite smile, but offered no indication she was willing to start a conversation. I sat silently, suddenly finding myself confused and offended she did not hear me earlier. I had yelled loud enough that anyone would have heard me, yet it appeared I was unnoticeable until she casually looked my way. I sat in awkward silence until we neared my destination.
As we approached my address the cabbie made no indication of slowing down. With an attempt at politeness I told the cabbie, “Hey, I think we passed my stop” Jolting, he looked in the rear view mirror. It appeared as if he did not remember my presence. Apologetically he responded, “Oh, sorry man. I got it” pulling to the curb as suddenly as he could. I paid the cabie with an amount of disdain. I don’t think he would have noticed if I stiffed him. As I opened the door I looked back slightly and noticed the woman looking on as if I had never been in the taxi at all. My annoyance nearly turned to anger. Casually, I left the door open as I debarked, in a petty attempt of revenge. The cab pulled away quickly, with no indication they noticed the open door.
I angrily walked down the sidewalk towards the intersection separating me from my apartment. The walk sign had turned to a flashing hand, counting down the seconds until I was caught even longer in the rain. It didn’t matter really, I was as drenched as you could get. I made the decision to tempt fate and run the crossing before traffic held me any longer. I sprinted as fast as I could, but I was not quick enough. The red hand indicated my mistake. Traffic from the opposing lane raced toward me with no hesitation. I sprinted to avoid death, but at the very last second a man slammed on his breaks and laid on his horn. The dozens of pedestrians waiting to cross the road didn’t react to my brush with death at all.
Anger turned to surprise. Someone was nearly ran over and not one person acknowledged the entire event. In a test of my sanity I bumped a man’s shoulder as I returned to the sidewalk. In a moment he reacted with passive confusion and nothing more. I responded with a loud, “Hey, sorry man!” A few people glanced lightly in my direction, and returned to their affairs. With a shred of panic I jogged back to my apartment building as obnoxiously as I could through the rushing crowd. Nobody looked in my direction.
Yanking the door to my building open I yelled to the crowded lobby, “Damn it’s pouring out there!” absolutely no reaction. I kicked over a garbage can in panic. Still nothing. The elevator door opened I shoved everyone out of the way, nearly knocking a man over. As the crowd shuffled into the elevator people walked straight into me, not noticing my obvious obstruction.
I exited the elevator on my floor in a hard panic. I ran to my apartment as fast I could, shoving every person in my way, throwing them to the ground. As I reached my apartment door, I attempted to turn the knob, but despite my best efforts I could not find my hands.
This is when I’m supposed to freak out or yell. Maybe not, things were beginning to become fuzzy. I may have fell over, it’s hard to tell.
I know I’m thinking of something, but I am viewing my mind through frosted glass.
Thoughts. Like looking into a sunset, things are silhouetted.
I think there’s somebody’s over there.
He’s too distant to see.
Fading in shadow.
more by BEN SHEARER
Photograph by Gabe Rodriguez