Linus stared out the window of the train. A light mist had peppered the windows. The world was gray and damp. Linus sighed and shook his head. He felt the weight of another day slogging it out in the trenches wash over him. The train came to the next stop and Linus watched a young couple get on. They were giddy with Wednesday morning downtown excitement.
“Oh my God I can’t wait to get there,” said the young woman in short shorts and a loose fitting top.
“I know. I’m excited too,” said her bearded, sunglass wearing beau.
They took the seats next to Linus and the young woman cuddled up next to her man. Linus immediately felt a searing hatred for them. He hated their youth. He hated their excitement. He hated their callow faces. He hoped they had a terrible time downtown. He hoped they got lost or ran out of money and they would get into an argument about how the boyfriend is never prepared for anything and the girlfriend was tired of his irresponsible behavior.
The girl looked around the train and she caught Linus staring at them. She smiled at Linus as she caught his judging gaze. Linus fake coughed and pretended like he was looking past her and not directly at her. He tried to be nonchalant but she knew.
“Hi,” she said to Linus.
“Going to work,” she asked.
“Yeah. The daily grind. What are you two up to,” asked Linus.
He wasn’t sure why he asked her that. He didn’t really want to know. He just wanted it to stay quiet on the train so he could mull his hatred toward work over in his boiling hung over guts.
“We’re going to the zoo and then the lake and then whatever else comes our way I guess,” said the girl as she grabbed her man’s thigh.
“Yeah, that sounds like fun,” said Linus.
She giggled and pulled her man’s arm closer to her. Linus nodded again. He thought that was probably a mistake. She couldn’t be more than 23 years old and he looked even younger.
“Wow. Married. That’s great. Congratulations,” said Linus.
Linus forced a smile. The young couple kissed each other. Linus looked around at the other riders of the train and he could feel their mutual hatred for this young couple. Everyone begrudged them their youthful happiness. Their youthful freedom. He imagined that if the crowd on the train had their way they’d kick these two people off . Linus looked back out the wet window and felt bad.
He couldn’t remember when he got so cold. So cynical. He should be happy for these two people but he just couldn’t find it in him anymore. The couple’s in your face happiness was just painful to watch. Linus was jealous.
“We’ve never been downtown,” said the girl.
“Right, but that doesn’t count,” giggled the girl.
Linus nodded again. He’d lived his whole life in the city. He’d been working downtown for as long as he could remember. Their naiveté made Linus very uncomfortable. He felt a hot sickness building up inside his stomach and he wished that these two happy assholes would just get off the train so he could get back to his uncompromised misery.
The train stopped at next station and the young couple got up.
“Nice talking to you,” said the girl.
The bearded beau nodded at Linus and the train doors opened and the young couple, hand in hand got off the train.
Linus could feel the relief of the other passengers as soon as the train started moving again. He looked out through the window and caught a glimpse of the couple kissing each other and laughing. Linus hated them. He hated everything. He hated what he’d become. A cold corpse of a man entombed in a glass case unable to make a real connection to anything outside.
The rain picked up and pelted the train window.