Wednesday, June 15, 2022 1:09 PM | Anonymous

by Edna Wallace, LMFT

The London underground
King’s Cross St. Pancreas station:
people jostling onto
trains, scouting
out seats or
a corner position,
taking out phones,
staring at screens.

On the Northern line,
A man runs on,
grabbing the handle
by the door.
His pant legs are dirty,
rolled up around his knees.
His pale blue jacket
is stained, half- unzipped.
The doors of the train
start to close.

The man yells,
“Wait! Please!
Open the doors!”
He punches at the door button,
over and over.
The doors close.
“You have to open the doors!”
he shouts.

The train draws away,
rumbling on the tracks.
The man looks around,
eyes wide,
He reaches
into his back pants pocket,
pulling out a phone.
His fingers,
punch at the buttons.
“Marcie, Marcie, I’m on the train!”
he says.

A voice answers, calm, reassuring:
“I realize that.”
“What are we going to do, Marcie?”
“You are going to breathe, Kevin.
That’s what you’ll do first.”
The man breathes—
rapid, shallow breaths.  
“Are you breathing deeply?”
“No. What will happen to me?
What am I going to do?”
“You are going to get off
at the very next station.
Do you hear me, Kevin?”
“Yes, I have to get off.”
“At the next station, Kevin.”
“Okay, Marcie.”
The man’s breathing slows.
People are looking.

“Help me, Marcie,” he says.
“Everything’s okay, Kevin.
Everything will be okay.
Just get off at the next stop.
I’ll be on the next train and meet you there.”
The man nods.
“Okay, the next stop.”
A voice announces:
“Angel station coming up next.”
“I don’t know, Marcie.
What if I can’t find you?”
“I’ll find you.
Just call me when you get off, Kevin.
Everything will be all right.”

A young woman stands up
and walks over to the man.
She puts a hand on his shoulder.
“Kevin, is it?” she asks.
The man nods.
“I’ll get off and wait with you, Kevin.”
“Did you hear that, Marcie?” the man says.
“Yes, Kevin. Isn’t that nice?
The lady will wait with you.”
“Okay,” says Kevin.
“Bye, Marcie.”
The young woman says:
“It’s scary to get separated, isn’t it?”
The man nods.
“We’ll wait for Marcie together,” she says.
The train stops.
The man and the woman get off.
The commuters go back to their phones.

Edna Wallace, LMFT, is a long-time therapist at El Camino Hospital working in the Adult Mood Program for Depression and Anxiety and the OATS program for older adults. She has a private practice in Los Altos. She worked for a decade on the Luncheon Committee for SCV-CAMFT and has been a luncheon presenter as well. Edna is an avid writer in her spare time.

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