Guilt

Leave a comment

October 3, 2016 by The Citron Review

by Patricia Newbery

 

I still hear them, the thumps, slaps and grunts that preceded his exit from his brief walk-on part. And I picture him more vividly than anyone I knew in those days.

Paris. A litany of seven-storey streets, a few tired vistas and, at that time, an unavoidability of dog shit that permeated the city with its stench when it rained.

It was raining that Sunday evening after yet another day of blotting-paper skies. I dashed the short distance from cinema to metro, reaching the platform just as doors slammed shut. The delay was welcome – I’d have walked home had I come prepared.

I took up waiting position about a third of the way along the platform, looking in the direction from which the train would come, as one does.

It would be wrong to say he staggered – that surely suggests a leaning forward, some sort of momentum, whereas there seemed almost to be a force holding him back as he made his disjointed way along the platform. Shabby and bandy-legged, he dragged his toes, arms held away from his body as if manipulated by an inept puppeteer.

His face came into gradual focus: expressionless, discoloured, mouth slightly open, something very wrong with his right eye.

I put a few francs into his hand and followed his progress along the platform.

There were more people now. Some rummaged for coins, some turned away. Most ignored him.

Three men passed me, scruffy and unkempt but with vigorous step. When they caught up with him, one poked him in the chest, said a few words, slapped and punched him, went through his pockets.

They left in the direction of the correspondances.

He’d almost collapsed but no one went to help him, just as no one had tried to intervene a moment before. Including me.

Slowly, as the breeze from the tunnel became a wind, he began to right himself, looking even more like a puppet as his hands danced in the air groping for balance. He was upright, swaying slightly, as I turned to board the train.

As it pulled out of the station, I caught a final glimpse of his silhouette transfigured in the dazzling light of the exit tunnel.

 

Patricia Newbery’s work has been published or is forthcoming in various print and on-line journals in Europe and North America. She’s a translator by profession and lives in Cairo.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

🍋10th Anniversary

Fall 2019 IssueSeptember 23rd, 2019
70 days to go.

🍋 Instagram

We're pleased to highlight creative nonfiction from Julie Watson. "Odds Are" is now available in our Summer Issue. https://citronreview.com/2019/06/21/odds-are/ #amreading #flashcnf #summerissue #cheersto10years
Anita Goveas, @raspberrybakewell, has fiction featured in our Summer Issue. https://citronreview.com/2019/06/21/coverings/ #amreading #flashfiction #summerissue #cheersto10years
New Flash Fiction from Mary Grimm, who has published a novel, Left to Themselves and a collection of stories, Stealing Time (which are both on Random House). She teaches fiction writing at Case Western Reserve University. https://citronreview.com/…/…/21/the-dream-of-her-long-dying/ #TheCitronReview #SummerIssue #Summer2019 #flashfiction #cheersto10years
Creative Nonfiction from our new Summer issue, "What About Me?" by Phyllis Reilly. https://citronreview.com/2019/06/21/what-about-me/ #TheCitronReview #SummerIssue #Summer2019 #flashcnf #cheersto10years
From our summer issue, "How Much Snow" by Erik Moellering. Erik Moellering teaches English at A-B Tech Community College in Asheville, NC, where he also performs in a variety of theatrical productions. https://citronreview.com/2019/06/21/how-much-snow/ #TheCitronReview #SummerIssue #CitronSix #Summer2019 #poetry #cheersto10years
The Summer 2019 Issue of the The Citron Review is brimming with amazing contributors. We want to thank them and hope you'll thank them too! Erik Moellering, Andrea Jurjević, David Galloway, Jennifer Metsker, Kendall Babl, Rogan Kelly, B.J. Best, Melanie McGee Bianchi, Emanuele Pettener, Thomas De Angelis, A. Grifa Ismaili, Julie Watson, Jill Chmelko, Kelle Schillaci Clarke, Phyllis Reilly, Elyse Giaimo, Anita Goveas, Mary Grimm, Carla Scarano D’Antonio, Megan Anning. #amreading #anonlinejournalofbriefliterature

Enter your email address to follow us and receive notifications of new issues by email.

%d bloggers like this: