The car continues to hurtle through the tunnel. A bench over sits a teenage girl. Like seemingly every other person in the car, her eyes are cast downward; focused on a small glass screen. Her face is contorted as if she is searching for an answer that eludes her. Her fingers fly as she furiously taps on the phone.
The car sways and a tear falls on her screen. She pulls her sleeve into her hands, wipes the screen, and continues to tap. Not wanting to eavesdrop, your eyes return to the floor. But you hear a deep heave; a sob she's trying to keep from escaping.
She types one more time. Waits and stares at the screen. Within seconds her eyes well up. She slaps the phone down on the empty spot beside her and buries her face in her hands. The train squeals as it pulls into the station. The passengers begin to jostle for position. The young woman glances at the route map above the door and wipes her eyes with her palms. She takes a deep breath and quickly releases it.
As the doors open, she makes her way to the exit. You notice the phone is still beside her seat. You grab it and call out to her. But she doesn't hear you over the din of the crowd. You try to fight the boarding crowd to give her the phone, but the tide is too strong. The doors slide closed a few steps before you arrive. You watch as she disappears around a corner.
Glancing down at the phone, you see the source of her pain is still on display. It's a group message. One girl accused her of stealing a boy. The young woman swore it was not true. Another said that she saw them on a date last Friday. The young woman said the others could ask her friend; she was with her the whole night. But the group wasn't having any of it. The first girl wrote slut. And it got worse from there. Insults plastered the screen.
You don't want to see any more. You slide the phone in your pocket wondering if she left it there on purpose. You grab onto a rail as the car begins to pull away from the station. You look out the window. The tiles. The blur. The darkness.