From the Archives: A Fragment-From July 21, 2015

Sometimes I look into older work and discover that I never finished it. Sometimes I never even finished a sentence. This can happen when I’m working on a story or a way of telling a story and I know at some point that I’m just not happy with how it’s going or where it’s going. If memory serves, that happened here.

Kara’s purse swung on her arm too freely, as if filled with feathers. She stopped short, just inside the revolving door; an angry school of people swam around her, spilling into the wide, marble hallway leading to the terminal. She fished her hand into her bag, stabbing into silk pockets. “Oh no,” she whispered to no one. Her tongue darted out to clear the fine sweat on her upper lip. “Oh no,” Kara repeated, stalking over to the wall to dig into her purse again. Her keys scratched her manicure. She flipped through credit cards and old, tattered Metrocards.

“Where is it?” she cried. A few passersby turned their faces toward her, eyes wide, mouths agape, before they walked faster to escape her distress. “Where is my phone?” Kara knelt down. A cold, dull pain radiated through her stockings. Overturning her purse, she corralled lipsticks, pens, and quarters that rolled in all directions. She held her empty bag up over her head, peering into its dark, empty corners.

Beneath her, she felt the telltale rumble of trains accelerating hundreds of people to work. Without her phone, she couldn’t even guess how late she’d be. Kara swept her belongings back into her purse and pushed herself to her feet. A man in a tailored suit paused before her, lips quirked to one side. “Don’t trouble yourself; I’m fine,” she lied. The man shrugged and walked away. Kara wasn’t fine. Her whole life was on that phone.

She started toward the doors, even though she knew that the cab would be gone. Now she could picture it clearly, lighting up with a new email on the cracked leather seat of the yellow cab. Kara stopped at the door and peered outside. A light mist showered the glass–a disgruntled line of travelers, commuters, and shoppers waited on the sidewalk for cabs, huddling under black umbrellas that shed the rain and waterlogged newspapers. Beyond them, the line of taxis slowly inched alongside the curb. Kara was certain hers was gone by now. Who would find her phone? Would someone steal it, or turn it in?

She turned from the door, from the people, from the waiting cabs, and, adjusting her purse on one shoulder, tugged her blazer into place and marched forward, the click-clack of her heels falling into rhythm with the others. She passed stores and bagel stands before the great hall of the terminal opened up before her. The four-faced clock in the center read thirty-seven minutes past eight. By the time she got to her train on the other side of the terminal, she’d have to wait for the 9:02, which meant she’d be at least half an hour late for work. Her shoulders drooped with a sigh–her purse slipped off of her shoulder, catching at her elbow, and swaying into another woman.

“Excuse you,” the woman chided.

Kara glowered. “Sorry,” she replied automatically. Everyone bumped into everyone else here–it was nothing to get upset about.

“You hit me with your bag.” The woman snapped, standing like a tourist in the middle of the street to snap a picture of yet another skyscraper.

“And I said I was sorry,” Kara called over her shoulder. She didn’t even look back–the last thing she needed this morning was to get in a fight with some strange woman who didn’t understand that the city was crowded. She wove through people, dodging elbows,

This is actually where the snippet I have ends. I don’t remember what was going to come next after she dodged all those elbows.