Wendy Elizabeth Wallace ~ Round Trip

Ever since she left her hus­band, Kit has been rid­ing the train. She gets on at the sta­tion down the street from the one-bed­room she can’t real­ly afford, in the direc­tion of New York City. The train is already quite full when she boards with only a few scat­tered seats. She doesn’t mind this, because she can allow a knee to graze against the jeans of the woman next to her read­ing a short sto­ry col­lec­tion who looks from the cor­ner of her eye like her col­lege girl­friend. Kit won­ders if this girl­friend, who broke up with her after six months because Kit was too “intense,” is the only per­son she’s ever loved. This woman smells like lilac and Kit wants to tug the book gen­tly to the left so she can read it too, the two of them hear­ing the same words inside their heads. In her one-bed­room, her thoughts are water­fall-loud. It’s only on the train, as it rocks and jud­ders for­ward, sur­round­ing her with the con­ver­sa­tions and rustlings of oth­er peo­ple, that things go qui­et. She dreads the moment that the win­dows go dark because it means they’ve dived beneath the streets of Manhattan and soon the train will huff to a halt and the woman next to her will get up with­out a word and go some­where and meet some­one or some­ones. Kit has no one to meet. Kit will scoot in towards the win­dow and wait for the motion to begin again, wait for some­one to set­tle in beside her. She and this per­son will see the same view, breathe the same over­cooled plas­tic air, be pulled and jerked by the same poor­ly main­tained tracks, a shared chore­og­ra­phy she wants to run on end­less loop.


Wendy Elizabeth Wallace (she/they) is a queer dis­abled writer. She grew up in Buffalo, New York, and has land­ed in Connecticut by way of Pennsylvania, Berlin, Heidelberg, and Indiana. They are the edi­tor-in-chief of Peatsmoke Journal and the co-man­ag­er of social media and mar­ket­ing for Splitw Lip Magazine. Their work has appeared  in The Rumpus, ZYZZYVA, Pithead Chapel, SmokeLong Quarterly, Brevity, and else­where. Find her on Twitter @WendyEWallace1or at www.wendywallacewriter.com