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WEEKDAY MAGAZINE – Reprieve

4 train approaching 183rd Street (photo by Joe Raskin, the author of “The Routes Not Taken – A Trip Through New York City’s Unbuilt Subway System,” and a free-lance photographer. Joe posts his photographs at his photoblog and he’s a regular contributor to thisistheBronX. http://wanderingnewyork.tumblr.com)

by Shavon C. Evelyn

August 15, 2019 (originally published February 4, 2018)

Reprieve

The 4 train always takes forever! If I don’t get to a bathroom soon, there’s going to be a serious problem. Damn you venti upgrade! Why does this dude keep looking at me? Is my potty pacing that obvious? Flashing lights and screeching brakes invade the tunnel. Finally! 15 minutes away from sweet release. Think… dry… thoughts.

“Damn it! The 5.” I swivel around to see if anyone heard that comment I meant to keep in my head as my bladder threatens to betray me. Was he always that close?

“Your pain will ease dear child,” says the man with the intense gaze and scraggly beard.

“Huh? What pain – ?” Before I could finish the question, I realize the pressure on my bladder has subsided. My hand moves to the soft fabric of my leggings. I look to the ground to ensure I hadn’t peed myself. Look back up to see him smiling gently in my direction.

He smelled of vanilla and hibiscus leaves, though he appeared to have missed a shower or two.

“What… How?” I stammer.

“It is my mission to alleviate the world’s pain.” His soothing voice wafts over me, like summer sunshine calming my anxious nerves.

“Your mission?”

“Maybe I should introduce myself. You most likely know me by the common name, Jesus.”

“You mean Jésus?” I ask, “I’m a Bronx girl, I know plenty of Jésus’.” A smile crept to my lips, though my brain was certain I should be freaked out.

“You may apply an accent if you wish my child, but my mission will remain the same.”

A rush of wind forces me to step forward a bit as the 4 train’s horn finally blares behind me. I turn as the door ding-dongs open, allowing me to step on. Look over my shoulder to bid my new friend farewell and find only rustling newspaper and stale air where he’d stood just a second ago.

####

Shavon C. Evelyn was born and raised in the Bronx. She writes both fiction and creative non-fiction and is currently writing a short story collection. 

To submit writing for publication on WEEKDAY MAGAZINEclick here.  Fiction, non-fiction, commentary, news, news analysis, and poetry are welcome.  Bronx slant always preferred.

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