Capital Train

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Polite Company.”

The corner of his eye twitched with annoyance. The train was his time to sit, quietly, with his thoughts. The train was when he decompressed from work, when he let his eyes drift closed and used the train’s rocking to sooth away work’s inane stresses.

The synthetic seat cushion crinkled as someone sat down next to him. He heard a woman’s soft sigh and felt the brush of her leg as she swayed her feet.

“These train’s sure do get packed, huh?” The woman spoke. He clenched his teeth.

“It’s rush hour.” He mumbled because he couldn’t sit there and let the question hang in the air, as much as he wanted too.

“I always forget people actually, like, work here.” She gripped her museum bag more securely in her lap. “With all the sights and cherry blossoms.”

“It’s the nation’s capital…” He wouldn’t open his eyes or get pulled into the conversation.

“You work at the capital?”

“Different branch.”

“What?”

“Executive branch.”

“Oh,” she paused. “Him.”

“Yes, the President.”

She huffed. “Not my President.”

“I’m pretty sure he’s everyone’s President, mam.” His teeth gritted.

“Well,” she smacked her lips, “we’ll just agree to disagree.” Silence then, until the train pulled to a stop and the woman left.

The man leaned his head against the window feigning sleep as yet another tourist filled the seat next to him.

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