Illustration by Börkur Sigurbjörnsson
Brendan felt gravity pull at his mind and body as he descended the escalator into the dome between the subway platforms, staring into the void of scarcely lit concrete and feeling as if looking into a mirror of his own soul. His head was blank and nearly all physical energy had drained from his body.
At the bottom of the stairs, he dragged his feet along the largely deserted platform, toward the opposite end where he sat down on a vacant bench. He wanted to keep as large a distance as possible between himself and the few passengers who were still about at this late hour.
Brendan wanted to be alone. Alone with his thoughts. The stray images jumping in and out of the black canvas at the back of his head. He tried, in vain, to pin them down, arrange them into a complete picture—a collage of his hopeless situation.
It wasn’t as if Brendan hadn’t tried. He had definitely tried. He had pitched. He had argued. He had pleaded. Yet, his efforts had been futile. The answers had been no, no and no. There was no more money. No more patience. No more line of credit. Brendan had lost all hope of freeing himself from the knot he found himself tied in.
He heard the train approaching. A faint glow lit up the dark opening of the tunnel. He stood up and walked over to the edge of the platform, so close that his weary body struggled to keep balance. The light at the tunnel mouth grew brighter. The noise became louder. A gentle breeze played with the locks of his hair as the headlights rushed toward him. He felt the pressure. He closed his eyes.
When Brendan opened his eyes again, the train had stopped and was standing by the platform with its doors ajar. He stepped in and collapsed into a seat. There wasn’t much he could do now, besides heading home and try to get some sleep before facing his employees in the morning to tell them the hard truth—the news that the company was bust.