paper / 2

Everyone in this city seems to be in line for a Subway sandwich. The tile on the ceiling is yellow, and the woman in front of the line takes her time, talking loudly to a man with a hairnet and a sullen expression. He wraps the sandwich in paper and hands it to her with a small smile.

I follow her outside, standing at a distance as she sits on a sidewalk bench and unwraps her meal. She looks up, noticing me with a small frown. I move closer.

“Does that keep you alive?”

Her frown turns to a vague expression of amusement. “What?”

“The sandwich. Do you eat it because you’re afraid of dying?”

She’s laughing now. “No, I eat it because I’m hungry. Do you need money for a meal?”

Before I can answer, she’s pulling something from her purse and pressing it into my hand. “You have a good afternoon, honey.”

I stare at the unfamiliar slip of paper for a while before sitting down and tucking it carefully into my notebook.

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