Marred by scars under my tattoos, my skin still had a certain sheen in direct sunlight. It had been years since I had cut for stress relief, for pleasure, for feeling when otherwise I was so numb. I pushed my sunglasses down tighter on my eyes, they pinching my nose in the process- hoping to keep out the eyes probing at me like I was some sort of specimen in a glass jar. I brushed my hair into my heavily lined hazel eyes.
Hasn’t anyone seen a girl on a bus anymore?
I was tempted to pop my iPhone out of my bra where I had to push it for safe keeping due to the “apple picking” that took place in The Loop all summer long where thieves targeted people with Apple phones, computers, or devices. Instead I sat staring out the window of the city I loved.
I had been in Chicago my entire life, I couldn’t believe that I had almost left it before to head to Canada.
I lay my head against the warm glass waiting for the bus to stop a few blocks down. I wondered if it was safe to walk to the train. Seemed light enough.
I should look tough. I should but inside sometimes I kind of shivered at the thought. I was never the one to carry pepper spray or put up much of a fight although that wasn’t the popular image of punk kids,I know. The bus stopped and I scampered down Sheffield Avenue and decided to take my chances taking the Red Line anyway. There hadn’t been a complaint since legendary rocker Billy Corner, had his handicapped brother attacked on the train. The last set of attacks had been on the Blue Line.
Funny isn’t it? This is what the world has come to? Scaring off the tourists in a city like this that is craving money since all the jobs have moved or closed? I never understood it.
My fingers clenched at my ripped jeans. Think…think. Just walk and keep your head up. No one will bother you if you look alert.
I wasn’t worried about any other trouble than robbers since this was a highly populated hipster/punk/rocker/scene kid area.
I dashed quickly into the train station, turned by back to the tracks. I always feared getting pushed after my parents friend was run over by the Metra once. Hurry up, hurry up train.
I wanted to check my phone for the time but still didn’t seem safe.
Finally I spotted the bright lights of the approaching train in the distance. I hated being paranoid like this. I gripped my jeans again. My nails so close to being able to scratch fine grooves into the skin beneath the ripped shards of jean.
On the stairs were several voices approaching. Could be normal people, could be someone coming to rob me. Didn’t those people on the Green Line get shot?
The second the doors opened I ran. Sat.
My nails found a rip in my jeans and suck deep into my flesh. Scratch, scratch. Ouch. Deep breath.
It feels so good. Better. Better.
My skin parted and let the nails scrape. The familiar trickle of warm blood flooded my leg. Ten stops. Ten stops until I’m back at the apartment.