A music box plays a song with missing notes. A star-shaped peg can be forced into the square hole. A painful thing is missing. There aren't enough seats. Those standing are sent out.
The Modern Princess
The train that leads from the suburbs to the beautiful gorge is named The Modern Princess.
At the gorge a man and a woman are accidentally stranded overnight. In
the dark the woman almost falls over the edge, but he catches her. When
he pulls her up he slips backward a bit. Their lips brush. Music swells
in their chests. They press against each other and feel the rise and
fall of breath. This first minute is the best happiness; they'll spend
years trying to conjure that same sharp beat. There is a poison in our
blood. It sticks to our veins when we
are alone. It scrapes against our veins when we are not. As the train
pulls back into the station, a second woman, a second stranger, is
waiting for the stranded man. She has worked for days to pick the words
she knows will crumple him. He will look up, she is sure, he will look
up at her from his destroyed form and feel a sudden swell in his chest,
and they'll ride the throughway to a hundred thousand sunsets. She
knows this. A whistle blows. The platform empties of people. Then, even
the scavengers leave.
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