Part i: At the End of the Subway
Stephen had always wondered what happens when a subway train gets to its last stop.
Did it go backward? Did it make a magical U-turn?
Of course, he could have asked someone or even looked it up, but that would shatter the mystery, the magic.
It started when he was 12 and it was the first time he rode the subway alone. He was on the 2 train on his way to his father’s house. He sat between a young woman with dark brown hair who was reading a book while constantly checking her phone, and a mildly overweight man who’s music was too loud. He sat there for an hour, completely still, his breathing minimal, as if any sudden movements would somehow disturb the equilibrium of the train.
This experience stayed with him for a very long time. The rumble of the train, the distorted, informative voice and the crowd of people.
He held onto that feeling until a hot summer day in August, when he decided to take the A train, the train with the longest route, all the way to its last stop.