The 1 Line, 4:23—4:51 p.m., July 17, 2015

By Susan Harlan
Reflections on the 1 train. (Alexander Rabb / Flickr)

Reflections on the 1 train. (Alexander Rabb / Flickr)

Someone is talking about the movie I Was a Male War Bride.

Someone is setting her watch.

Someone is folding up a map.

Someone is scroll, scroll, scrolling on her phone.

Someone is eating nacho cheese sunflower seeds, the orange powder falling from his fingers.

Someone is scratching a Lotto ticket, the silver dust falling from her fingers.

Someone is looking up and reading the ads.

Someone is moving aside, and someone is standing still.

Someone is picking his nose, quickly.

Someone is looking for something in her purse that she does not find.

Someone is leaning on the door, under the Do not lean on door sign.

Someone is carrying coffee.

Someone is carrying a floppy straw beach hat.

Someone is carrying a yellow sweater and an orange scarf.

Someone is putting on a necklace she has taken out of her rumpled shopping bag.

Someone is scratching his arm.

Someone is getting up, and someone is sitting down.

Someone is chewing on his glasses.

Someone is pressing gum into a bit of paper.

Someone is resting her cheek on her fist, her hair in her eyes.

Someone is tap, tap, tapping on his phone.

Someone is doing her eyeliner, a deep blue.

Someone is rubbing his palms together.

Someone is opening his book, and someone is closing her book.

Someone is chipping at her nail polish, the purple flakes falling from her fingers.

Someone is shifting her bag from one shoulder to another.

Someone is talking about going to Italy.

Someone is talking about going home.

Someone is carrying carnations wrapped in wet patterned paper.


open-uri20150201-3-2kdp0_profile_largeSusan Harlan is a writer based in Winston-Salem, NC. Her essays have appeared in the Guardian US, Roads & Kingdoms, The Morning News, The Awl, Curbed, and Public Books. She recently completed a ten-part series for Nowhere magazine called “The Nostalgic Traveler.”

Join the Conversation