(That was me being chill. I see your smiley there. You get me, girl.)
23. meeting on a train ride au
Steve hates traveling in uniform. It makes people come up to him
and thank him for his service with such sincerity that he feels hopelessly
external. A few times people have yelled at him, called him a tool, a
government lackey, and he wants to spit back at them, asking if they’ve ever
given their last bottle of water to a grasping, bright-eyed child, or tried to
hold a friend’s guts inside. The only thing he doesn’t mind is when vets- from
his war, from others- nod at him, but sometimes there’s hatred in their eyes
too for what he makes them remember.
The uniform helps, though, when he hears shouting from the next
car. Not because it makes people unconsciously look to him to take control, but
because they are willing to move out of the way when he tries.
The disturbance is at the far end. Steve moves carefully, trying
to assess and also not hit anyone in the crowded car with his pack. Thing hurts
like hell if you take it to the face.
It’s two men facing off, one in a flat beige cap with a ponytail
slinking out, the other in an ugly windbreaker in Jets green. They’re both
gray-haired. Somehow it makes it worse that they’re old. Watching them circle
each other, yelling, is embarrassing, and Steve winces thinking about coming
over to break them up. Someone has to, though, so he asks a woman with a
stroller if she’ll watch his pack, waiting for her to smile and nod before he
moves away. But before he can turn back to the fight, another voice, calm and
draped with an accent, cuts through the yelling: “What’s all this?”
Dark curls, purple blouse, neatly matching nails. She’s very
still, standing with a cocked head. Steve’s face freezes, which is good because
otherwise he’d have an open jaw.
This is the TERRA Terrarium. It was created by Fort Standard and features a 360 degree view because of the glass icosahedron. Inside, a twenty-year-old Japanese Fukien Tea Bonsai Tree and other woodland plants and mosses are framed by the hard maple and glass structure.