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They were in the subway; the lights blurred into straight neon lines. The noises were all mechanical: the exhaust of engines, the chuckles of metal, the sobbing of a stopping train. Her eyes strained to catch one face -- to study his features, to see the meaning in her eyes, but they moved away too quickly. Everything was all a blur.
“They’re asking me to write a love story. I can’t do that.” She said out loud to Charlie, her editor.
“Make up some crap, Dominique. Give as many scenes of kissing, and they’ll love you for that.”
People she couldn’t make out shoved into her. She stood there, not really sure what she was waiting for. She was empty-handed, except for her purse. I could be going any where, she thought, and no body would ever guess where. I’m probably just a blur.
“I can’t see the use of it, Charlie.”
“What do you mean? Just write the damn thing, it’s simple. Make up two fictional people, they’ll belive they were so in love that they were real.”
Dominique sighed. “That’s not the thing. I don’t want to make it up. I want it to be real. But… I can’t see it.” Her eyes focused on a couple walking into a subway train. The doors closed before she could see their faces; before she could decide for herself if they were a happy couple or not.
She felt anger inside. Stand still, will you please! She thought. I only want to see you clearly. She felt her legs walk. Charlie followed her outside the subway station. She heard words coming out of her mouth, couldn’t believe that she was thinking and speaking at the same time. “I know, you’re probably going to tell me, â€˜Dominquie, it doesn’t matter if you can’t see it. Make it up, and believe in it. Believe in it, and it becomes real. So real others will believe you too’.” Charlie’s look was skeptical. “Oh, alright, maybe you weren’t going to say that, but you wanted too. But I can’t make it up. This love story. I can’t and I won’t. I just don’t understand it.” She felt her heart ache; cars were speeding past her, she couldn’t make out a single face.
“Dominique, just because you aren’t in love doesn’t mean you don’t know enough about it. You can write about what you do know.”
Then she saw it -- his face. It was his features, that gleam in his eyes, that crooked smile, it was his shoulders, those were the arms that held her in the night, she knew it, she knew. Forgetting Charlie, she sprinted forward. Some new energy had pulsed through her, and she shot into his direction. She could only see his face. She tripped slightly, someone pushed her; only she didn’t know who. She made the mistake of looking to see who it was. That face was gone, blurred by more unknown people that only began to push her in their direction. Remembering about him, she turned to the direction where she swore she saw him. But he was no where in sight.
Tears welled up in her eyes. She could hear Charlie racing towards her. “God -- why’d you run away like that?”
Her eyes traced every face that she could possibly make out -- only they moved too quickly, she didn’t have the time to understand.
Charlie’s hand was on her shoulder. “What was that all about? Huh? Catching some imaginary dream, huh? Can you see it now?” Dominique looked at Charlie; his nostrils were flaring and his face was beat red.
“It’s all just a blur.” She mumbled. Charlie didn’t hear. He was fumming. She could hear him, his steam like the exhaust of an engine. “Now I got to look over every one -- why does there have to be so many damn people? -- just so I could find the street we were just on, so we can walk in the direction we were walking in the first place.” Charlie was short; it wasn’t easy for him to look over people. “You go off in the wrong direction like that,” he mumbled fiercely. “Now we’re going to be late, and the meeting starts, and you can’t just run off like that, and I don’t care what for, oh why don’t these people just get out of my way? Hurry up, now, Dominique. Why are you looking over there for? There isn’t any one. No one important that I can tell.” Charlie was pulling across a street. It was getting late and the streetlights were bright and brilliant. She wanted to stop like a train, at a resting point, pick someone up, and take them home. Yes, I want that, very much. The idea was so hard in her mind, it gleamed like metal, she couldn’t stop from laughing. She followed Charlie to the publishing building, but she wasn’t looking towards that. She kept looking in all the faces, not seeing any face. She longed for him, it hurt not to see him, but she kept looking, kept hearing Charlie, “It’s a dizzy business, but I believe you can write a love story. Romance is too easy. You understand it perfectly, more than any one Dominique.” She imagined the subway lights, saw herself standing there, not going any where, no one there to care if she did go or not. The lights blurred in front of her eyes, she couldn’t see any one face, nor her own, and she was part of a single portrait of neon colors. She laughed. I will write romance novels for the sake of the romantic, she told herself. She could see his face in every person. I can see clearly now.
Orchard Park, New York
Round Lake, Illinois
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