Standing on the grey concrete, watching the lights flash around the city roads, I hear my name from behind me.
It's Melanie, her little-girl voice just loud enough to make me turn and look.
She's standing with a guy (any guy, just to make her feel wanted and safe), as she does. She's wearing her yellow sweater.
I watch her eyes shine for a second as we chat, then we shuffle onto the transit quietly, searching for a seat to rest on for the duration of the ride. I move to the back with the rest of the crowd, and turn back momentarily to see Melanie looking in my direction. Our eyes meet, we smile, but I see the worry.
Her worry, as she always has with her. She carries it carefully on her shoulders, shifting it around every-so-often so no one notices.
But I see it, and I sigh.
Everyone has something.
Something that's wrong, and we can't always make it better.
But Melanie's just as scared as I am, and I can't help but feel a little safer for the rest of the ride. Sickly safe, though. I'm finding composure in Melanie's breakdown.
As I leave the train, I drag my fingers along a green railing stationed just outside the designated stop. I look up at the windows carefully, looking for her. But she's gone.
Some other shining street lined with walking addictions and seated ghosts.
Melanie can't handle it any better than I can, so she's destroying herself just the same as me. Only she's doing it one boy, one puff, one pill at a time.
One word, one cut, one match.
One burn, but it doesn't hurt, I swear.