At the Belmont Stop

I took the Red Line here.

Got on at the Chicago stop, stepping out of January sun and into florescent-lit shadows of the underground El tracks.

I stood there above the tracks, my toes barely skimming the blue strip along the platform’s edge.

Light down the tunnel, growing, the tracks clack, echo, and I felt the wind in my hair even before the train pulled into the tunnel in front of me.

I took the Red Line, and now I’m here.

At Belmont.

Above ground, it’s the middle of January, yet the screen down the platform reads 35 degrees.

It’s warm, really.

It might be warmer than past days, weeks, but it’s still January, and I step up the platform, to the heating area.

I stand in the corner, lean against the glass wall behind me. Overhead, the heating lamp glows orange, and I can feel the heat on the top of my head.

There’s a little girl behind me, on the other side of the glass I lean on.

A little girl waiting at the Belmont stop.

She’s missing her top front teeth; two of them at least, maybe four.

It’s loud, up here on the train platform, and I have headphones in, as well, music turned up even louder.

But I watch her, through the scratched glass, and I know what she’s doing.

She’s singing.

She sings a song, joyously. She spins, waving her arms in the air.

She’s simple, gently, brilliantly colorful.

Her eyes are blue, beautiful.

Her coat is black, thick down zipper all the way up.

Her cheeks are pink, rosy. Maybe from the cold, maybe excitement. Maybe both, really.

I turn my music down, pull an earphone out, as I watch the child sing, spin, dance, smile. But I can’t hear her, of course.

I don’t notice until a moment later that her blonde hair, golden, stiffly curly, frames her face.

It peeks out of her fur-lined hood on either side of her pink cheeks.

Eye bright blue. Smile sweet, toothless and pink. Blonde curls wild.

She’s captivating.

A woman sits, her back to me. With the child, watching the child.

I consider for a moment asking if it’s her daughter, but maybe it’s a babysitter, a nanny, and I know I won’t ask anyway.

The little girl loves the woman, I see.

I watch her stop her singing, lean into the woman, hands on her knees, their noses almost touching.

The woman’s arms wrap around the child, she hugs her.

I look away, then. And I get on the train, northbound Purple Line, soon after.

But on that January afternoon on the Belmont stop, a little girl sang, danced, and she was loved, and I saw joy, beauty, in her sweet child face.

~Natalia

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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Nina
    Jan 15, 2014 @ 14:23:48

    I found your blog quite by accident the other day. You write very well, and I’ve enjoyed reading… Also, something cool is that a friend of mine is also going to Moody right now, her name is Bronwyn, from Canada. I know it’s a big school, but it’s possible you might know her? Anyways, thanks for sharing this beautiful Chicago moment! :)

    Reply

    • nataliaria
      Jan 16, 2014 @ 14:12:07

      Hi Nina, thanks for commenting and for your kind words. :) I’m curious to hear how you found my blog. And yes, I do know Bronwyn. Our majors are very similar (I am studying Elementary Education) and we have had a couple classes together.

      Reply

      • Nina
        Jan 17, 2014 @ 18:08:14

        Wow, that’s a crazy “coincidence”. ;) I think it was on the wordpress feed in the sidebar under “you may like” which I rarely ever click on.

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