Convergences at Grand Central
by Bob Beier
He sits on a long wooden bench. Around him people weave endless invisible webs of their comings and goings. The man sits in front of a square table that depicts old tickets and the paths of rusting trains. He's in danger of being swallowed by the wood. If he caved in on himself any more he'd be lost completely. Sad eyes set deep into their sockets like two burnt pieces of coal. The lines on his face sag. There's a woman reading next to him. She has dyed black hair. The wrinkles around her eyes are delicate lines of erosion. A stack of business papers sit at her elbow. When she turns the page the papers fall to the floor. The man immediately leaps into focus, pulling his drooped contours together into a taut moment of action. He bends down and picks up the fallen papers. The woman watches uncomfortably as he bangs them into neat order on the surface of the table. His face beams like a lighthouse casting itself out into the rolling darkness. He hands the stack to her. She beams back. For a moment there is only the two of them brought together by an accident of kindness. Two lights meeting across the infinite divide of what makes us human, glowing brighter at their intersection. He turns away and crumples immediately. She reads her papers. He glances at her quickly. She keeps reading but her body is tense. He fidgets in his seat as if caught in a spotlight. A short, blind woman walks by, sliding her cane along the floor. Her skin is the color of the bench. She looks like she just got off a train that carried her from the mountains of Peru straight to the caverns of Grand Central.
About the author:
Bob Beier is best known for his series of mystery novels that feature the remarkable English detective, Inspector Archibald Rice.