Jessica took one last sip of her coffee, which had grown cold since she abandoned it on the kitchen counter to shower for work, and then poured what was left down the drain. She was anticipating the day being an easy one, for a Monday anyway, because today there was going to be a solar eclipse, which meant she could dick around online while all her co-workers were busy clustering outside, staring up at the sky.
She gathered up her purse, laptop, phone, and keys, and made her way out the front door of her apartment building. She paused a beat on her front stoop to dig her sunglasses out of her bag and while getting them situated she noticed one of the construction workers hired to make as much noise as possible in the renovation of the building across the street just standing there staring directly at her. Something about this enraged her and she wildly moved her arm back and forth in the air at him in an exaggerated "Hiiiiiiiiiii!!!!"
She checked the time on her phone and saw that she was actually running late. Her train was gonna be coming in about ten minutes and she was 15 minutes away from the subway. She started to speed walk towards it, zigging and zagging around the seemingly brain dead people who wandered zombie like out of the store fronts as she passed, unaware of the possibility that anyone could be using that sidewalk but them. She reached the entrance to the G train in what she considered to be record time and double timed it down the stairs, swiping her Metro card just as the train was pulling in, which meant she'd have to run to reach it because the G train is designed to be as inconvenient as possible. Everyone on the platform broke into the same frantic run and then smushed body parts together in a struggle to be the first through the doors so they could get a seat. Jessica cared more about not having to touch anyone than she did about getting a seat, so she pulled back, letting them all do their weird thing, and then assumed her preferred position, leaning against the inside of the doors once they had closed behind her.
Jessica turned her eyes, not her head, to seek out the source of such a declaration, ripping through the otherwise mundane chatter of her normal 9am commute. At first she couldn't pin-point anyone who looked like they'd be taking this time to announce their displeasure towards space, and then she saw her. A very tiny woman, probably pushing 85, surrounded by C-Town shopping bags towards the back of the car. She didn't look homeless, obviously, because she'd just dropped at least $100 in groceries that morning, but something was obviously going on.
"FUCK SPACE!!!!" The woman howled again. Jerking the upper portion of her body up and down as she said it and slamming her small fists into her hips as punctuation.
If this were to happen anywhere else people would be showing concern at this point, or at least looking a bit more curious about what was taking place, but since it was Brooklyn, and this was a very Brooklyn thing to be happening, most everyone kept their eyes fixed on their own shoes, or some safe place in the middle distance.
Metropolitan was the next stop, Jessica's stop, and she was momentarily sad to have to leave that train. Once she got on to the street, and made the short walk to her work, the rest of the day would play out almost exactly like the ones to come before it. What was happening right then, in that train car, was something different. She wished she could hear the old woman yell about space some more. She wondered what traumatic event in her life had caused her to hate it so much. She wanted to at least get closer to the woman, to make some sort of exchange, while she still had the chance. Running into the same stranger twice in NY is rare. Not impossible. But rare.
The train pulled into the Metropolitan stop and the canned voice announced that the doors would be opening. Jessica walked the long way down the train, even though she was right by a door, and as she got closer to the old woman she fumbled in her purse for some reason to talk to her.
"Um, hey, would you care for some salt water taffy?" Jessica held a few pieces out to the woman, having found them at the bottom of her purse. They'd been there since the last time she went to Coney Island.
"None for me, thanks," the woman said, smiling sweetly at Jessica. "I can't have that stuff anymore. Dentures."
Jessica put the sweets back in her purse, told the woman to have a nice day, and exited the train. She wasn't sure what she thought was going to happen once she offered the woman the taffy. Maybe that she would have taken them and thrown them back in her face, in further protest of space. She kinda liked what actually happened better.
Almost immediately upon reaching street level Jessica was stuck in a growing crowd of people, with more and more flooding out of all the surrounding office buildings and stores, gaping up at the eclipse. Some were even wearing homemade gadgets to protect their eyes and aide in better viewing of it.
"FUCK SPACE!!!!!" Jessica yelled into the sky, causing one mom holding onto a stroller to whip her scrunched face over at her in horror.
"And fuck you too," Jessica said to the woman, continuing on to work.