I got up from the computer desk, and watched my brother as he sat on the couch with his legs sprawled on the coffee table and playing NFL live on his playstation.
“Alright, I got the address, I think I’m all set for tomorrow” I said .
“Well don’t forget to look at the company’s web site.” Dustin said.
He spoke without turning his head, staying very focused on the virtual football field in front of him. There was a silence every now and then that would be interrupted by the commentators in the game.
“What for?” I asked.
“Listen, I’ve been working at my company for five years now. I know that place inside and out, like the back of my hand. It shows you care. That kind of crap can land you the job in a heartbeat. Heck if I were you, I would go with a few should go questions of my own. ” Dustin said.
“It’s just a packing warehouse. I really doubt they’re going to ask me when the company was started. They just want to know my skills and what I can bring to the table. ” I said
“Well apparently not that much.” Dustin chuckled.
“Shut up Dustin.”
“You know I’m right. How are you ever going to work at a packaging warehouse being so scrawny anyway?”
“Can you do me a favor and drive me to this address tomorrow morning?”
“No can do lil’ bro, I got my own job to go tomorrow. ”
“But it’s on the way. You literally just stop and continue driving straight.
“This is your first job. Take the metro over there and do it yourself. ”
“Stop being a jerk.” I said.
” Stop being a priss. You can take the metro there until you get a car of your own.” Dustin said.
He brought his feet off the table and leaned closer to the screen. His hands moved quickly on the game controller and I watched as he maneuver a player down the field to the end zone for a touchdown.
” But I don’t even have a driver’s license yet.” I said.
He placed the game controller down on the table and got up from the couch to face me.
Use the metro as motivation to get your license .That’s if they hire you.” he said.
“Whatever.” I mumbled.
I left the living room and headed to my bedroom. I heard my brother Dustin screaming at the referee in the game, as if he could hear him. I closed the door of my room to block out any of Dustin’s futile screams at the screen. I opened my closet and skimmed for a nice button down shirt. My mother had laid out black slacks on my bed that she gotten for me earlier in the day. I heard two light knocks on my door and my mother walked in.
“Hey honey. Are you ready for your big day tomorrow? You should be going to bed soon,” she said.
“Yeah. Mom, couldn’t you get Dustin to take me tomorrow morning?” I asked.
“Oh you know how your brother can be sometimes sweetie pie. He gets very worked up if something messes with his routine. It’s better that you take the metro and you can enjoy the scenery.” She said.
“Alright, but if my train gets delayed. It’s not my fault.” I said.
“You’ll be fine. Lights out in five, okay?” she said.
“Yeah Mom. Goodnight.” I said.
I returned back to my open closet and picked out a white short sleeve shirt with blue pinstripes. I had worn it only once before. I had accompanied my father a year ago, at a day convention in Connecticut. Since it wasn’t too far from home and I was off from school I was able to help lug around his suitcase and set up his table. The morning of his convention, I tried to leave the house wearing a hoodie and sweats. My father insisted that I dress in formal wear if I were to assist him that day. I picked out the crisp white shirt with blue pinstripes that my mother gotten me for Christmas. Which was the Christmas I received a plethora of shirts and ties while my brother had gotten stacks of video games and workout gear. When we made it to the convention, my father only referred to me as his assistant, and didn’t treat me like a little kid.
I hung up the shirt on the back of my door and prepared to go to sleep. The next day I got dressed and ate breakfast before I made my way to the metro. My mother wished me luck and I walked four blocks to the station. When I reached the metro, it was 6:37 a.m. A few people were dressed in suits and business attire lugging around briefcases and backpacks. For a moment, I felt like one of these people who went to work and who were important people at their jobs. I would only be available to work during the summer since my senior year would start in the fall; however it was a nice feeling knowing how I would be able to say I worked hard before I went away to college soon.
The train blew its horn and pulled into the station, and I entered and located a seat by the window. I put on my Walkman looked out the window of how we rushed past the trees. We passed by an endless array of green shrubbery and power lines. I leaned my head against the glass and started to observe the people around me. A few men and women dressed in business attire were scattered all across the cart. They were either on their phones, laptops, or reading the paper. A woman sitting across from me was reading a book while a young girl who knelt in a seat beside her looked outside the window. The little girl had 4 big puffy braids and a pink shirt and pant combo. It reminded me of when my Father would take Dustin and I on the metro to visit our grandparents before we got a car. I had always loved to look out the window and was in awe of all the land and trees, as much as the girl probably felt now. Unfortunately, the feeling was no longer mutual as I did not enjoy looking at the scenery.
I leaned my head back and I started to get very anxious thinking about the interview. I remembered how my Father would joke around and told me that I needed to strengthen my handshake if I wanted anyone to take me seriously. I longed to hear his voice roar whenever he and Dustin watched a football game in the living room on Sunday afternoons. Even now I tried to imagine him with a couple of years on him sitting at the kitchen table advising me what to do for this very interview. He loved to sit at the kitchen table and read the newspaper with a cup of coffee in the early mornings and I wish I were able to see him. He had perfect brown hair that he passed down to me and would wear his glasses on the very tip of his nose when reading. Many times he would call me over and say, “Adam, get a load of this.”
The train rode past a station stop and blared its horn several times. We continued a quarter mile before we suddenly made a short jerk. A loud crash sound pierced my ear drums and I flew out of my seat and onto the floor. The train was stationary and the lights in the train were now off. I heard screaming and yelling and shrieks of distress. I looked around me and saw several people on the floor. A hand patted me on the back and I got up quickly to my feet. I faced a short chubby middle aged man with gray hair asked if I were okay. He asked me to help him get some people to their feet.
A few minutes later the conductor made an announcement and the train doors opened. The police came ten minutes later. The carts behind ours were grooved around like a snake and officer considered us lucky for what we saw behind us. I was checked by an EMT and questioned by an officer about what I had remembered before the crash. The amount of firemen, EMTs, and police officers grew by the minute, and I wondered about the fate of the other passengers in the cart behind mine. There were people with obvious bruises and a few stretchers passed by me as the officer spoke. He had confirmed that there was a delay in the brakes that caused the crash and I said I was among the lucky passengers. My head jerked forward, and I opened my eyes and realized I had dreamt the whole crash. I looked out the window and didn’t recognize the stop, so I got off the next stop.
I exited the station and looked at a map, and I learned I was three stops short of my destination. I walked down the road and waved down a cab.The cab was white with green trim and words on it that read “Spring View Taxi”. The driver drove past me and stopped shortly in the middle of the road. He slowly reversed and stopped beside me. I gave him the address I scribbled on my notepad the day before. He had sweaty olive skin and brown eyes.
“You’re not from around here, eh?” he said.
“No, sir. How could you tell?” I said.
“I’m usually called to pick up people at their homes; I rarely pick up people on the road. It sure ain’t like the city.”
“Ah, I see.”
“People are real snobby here. No good day or thank you.”
I smiled and l looked out the window and hoped the pointless conversation he was attempting to make, would end—but it did not. We drove by many large houses and more green shrubbery. After10 minutes, we made a stop and the driver said it would be $6.50.
“Sir I asked for 435 Spring lane.” I said.
He turned around and now I was faced with his giant mustache. It seemed to muffle the endings of his words.
“This here, is 435 Spring Lane, son.” He said
“Okay. Thank you.” I said.
I paid the driver and got out of the car. He looked through his window as I started to walk and finally drove off. I looked at what was before me and thought maybe I had written the address incorrectly. All that laid before me was an open field of grass and trees. The sun was out on full displayed now and its warmth seemed to hug me in pity. I took out my cell phone and dialed Dustin.
“What do you want?” He answered.
“Hey can you pick me up at 435 Spring Lane?”
“You said you were going to take the metro back.”
“Yeah, yeah I know. But there’s nothing here.”
“Whatever. I’ll be there soon.”
I looked again at the field before me. I knew it was beautiful, but I was too angry to take it in so I sat on the curb and faced the road. Many cars passed by and finally Dustin pulled up beside me in his car.
“What the hell you doing here?”
“Can you just take me home?”
I entered the car and fastened my seat belt. I leaned my head against the window and lowered the volume on the radio, which seemed to be playing some sports commentary.
“So what happened to the interview?” Dustin asked.
“There was no interview.” I answered.
“The place is a fake, can you just take me home now!”
I could feel Dustin’s breathing changed to heavy, as if he were about to let out a big laugh, but he let out a deep sigh instead. He turned up the volume and started driving and I turned my attention to the window. We started to pass the large pastel houses I had seen once before in the cab. We came into what seemed like the town’s city section and passed mini markets. Dustin made a right turned and pulled into a diner’s parking lot, that read “Spring View Diner” in Red. He parked the car and turned off the engine. I stayed with my gaze outside the window. Dustin got out and came around to my side and opened my door.
“What are we doing here?”
I looked at him confused and tried to search his stern face for answers. He hovered over my side like a giant, and I wondered if I would be okay to get out of the car or was about to be given a wedgie.
“Don’t be a chum, they make awesome waffles here. Eggs taste just as good as Mom’s.”
I tried to reason in my mind for a minute, but he pulled me out of the car. He placed his hand on my back and patted it twice. We walked together into the diner and he kept his hand on my back, guiding me the whole way.
“Good morning, table for two?” A waitress greeted us.
She had a great big smile without showing teeth and looked at my brother for a response.She had thin wispy grey hair wrapped in a bun with a pen holding it in its place. She wore a neon pink uniform and held a small notepad in her pale wrinkly hands. Behind her was a cash register and a glass case with assorted cakes and pies on display. The diner was quite large with gray tables, chairs, and booths with red carpeting.
Dustin turned me and asked “Booth?”
I turned to my brother and looked at him for the first time since he had picked me up from 435 Spring Lane. He almost looked like a different person when he wasn’t picking on me.
“Yeah.” I answered.
Dustin smiled at the lady and she grabbed two menus on the counter behind her and guided us to a booth towards the right side of the diner.
© 2015 Christina Jackson