#990: Xanthippe (Or, “Tomorrow’s Song,” but it’s 990 stories in and I only have one story that starts with X so far)

October 8th, 2018

On the train, by the window, rumbling south from the far north. Monday morning, she looked out through ’70s style Lennon sunglasses as she hunched over a college-rule notebook, pen in her left hand, wrist wrapped ’round purse so no one can grab and run.

Natural hair, close-cropped but growing out the last remnants of a henna job. It looked good — fashionable and two-tiered. I don’t know if she was hiding it under the white baseball cap turned backwards, or just was wearing a hat. I didn’t ask because I didn’t want to stop her scribbling.

She was seamlessly rail-thin in that way only the young can be. 19? 24? Somewhere on the end that says life is dawning and I’ll get an automatic “sir” if we were to talk. But that wasn’t going to happen, as she had earbuds in, the universal public transportation symbol of “I have nothing playing in this, but want a way to tell the world not to talk to me.”

And she wrote. She looked out the window, looked back at the paper and wrote.

I peered, of course I did. I glanced when unnoticed and looked at the world the young woman was creating on college-rule with a blue pen clutched in her left hand.

Lyrics. Or a poem. Something that rhymed at least, whether a song she was going to strum on guitar like the Pink Floyd album cover done in pastel on her hoodie or spat into a mic. She sat and she looked at the world and scribbled something that required rhyming “brain” and “rain.”

And I smiled and felt very old.

This site is ending. There are 11 stories to go and I’ve already written six of them. My song is coming to an end.

So I’m happy to see that other songs are just starting up, poems just getting written by the rail-thin and hopeful. I’m glad to see that we’ve always been a city of people singing to each other and that I got a chance to peer over paper at a song just starting.

And I’m glad to see the writers of tomorrow’s song look nothing like me.

Natural vs. flat hair

Two young writers find their performance

Selling music by the train

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You are currently reading #990: Xanthippe (Or, “Tomorrow’s Song,” but it’s 990 stories in and I only have one story that starts with X so far) by Paul Dailing at 1,001 Chicago Afternoons.

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