an off-kilter st. juste.

The train was crowded. Vida had never been through a subway before. It felt weird. Like a giant, closed off boat, navigating the river Styx.

... Like the underworld. A vast city's sunken mycorrhizae.

Tree nutrients, rumbling along...

Another young woman with a school bag got on. She had nice hair, like an eighties vampire.

She stood next to where Vida was seated, and fished a pill bottle out of her satchel. Muttered something about school being awful.

Vida said nothing, though she felt that maybe she might have something to say.

The other girl turned around and looked down at her.

" What are you lookin' at? I can feel you staring a hole through my jacket."

Vida started a little, surprised.

" I, um, I was wondering if you were going to Northside too, is all, because..." Her voice trailed off smally under the other girl's gaze.

" ... I'm a senior."

She turned back around and picked at the belt of her high-waisted jeans. Maybe it was cinched too tight. Or maybe talking to someone else had made her feel self-conscious? Nervous about taking medicine in public?

" I am too, it's just that I just transferred here from far away, so..."

The other girl didn't say anything.

Vida fell quiet.

There was a general chatter on the train, the sound of newspapers crinkling and music leaking out of headphones.

They got off at the same stop.

... A familiar face. A face Vida couldn't place. But it existed in her memory, somewhere.