Gina DeCassio is living her dream. Almost to a fault.
| And the rumbling went on and on and on. She peeked into the dark opening of the tunnel. There was something beyond that darkness, something she could not yet grasp and yet she could feel it casting its spell over the whole goddamn place. The people down here were at the mercy of its elusive rules. The world was but a stop among many, and yet this world had become the only thing in existence it seemed. Her world had collapsed into a single unit and its sounds were uncomfortably present each second she was forced to spend down here. Tunnel vision was beginning to set in, tiny circles were closing in on each other. And then, her eyes were wide-open.
Gina DeCassio noticed that she hadn't turned off her TV. Disgustingly fake smiles gleamed at her from the grainy noise of the tube. Gaudy colors seemed to be fighting for dominance on the right side of the screen and vacuous muzak underscored this debacle. "What a surprise. Another glorified blender made out to be a technological breakthrough," she thought. Then she averted her gaze and looked up at the clock on the wall. It was 7:45 AM. Gina squinted. "FUCK!".
In one swift move, she cast off her blanket and stood up from the couch. She hadn't been able to sleep in the bedroom for some time now. Once again, she had just drifted off, fully clothed. She had even left parts of her work apparel on. At her feet, there was a pizza box with half of its contents still inside. She picked it up and put it on the kitchen desk. One of those dreams again. It seemed to her as if she had never left the depths of the subway. Now, she was bound to that sun-forsaken place, even within her dreams. After-hours was the only time she had some respite, but most of it was spent on second-rate crime series and the takeout service around the corner.
The screeching sound of the trains, the atonal wall of voices and the constant announcements were playing out in her head like a perpetual loop. And now those dreams - which seemed to have merged with the absurdity of her waking life to form an echo chamber of sorts - had arrived. Just moments ago, she had wandered through several decades of Delancey Street's history as if caught in a time-lapse. Several generations met, countless people conversed, laughed, waited anxiously, inflicted harm upon each other. And there were always those pounding and pulsating sounds of trains leaving the station. And time and time again the ear-piercing screeches of an emergency stop. The weird happenings she was experiencing day-in day-out seemed to go full circle within her dreams. Or maybe it was the other way around and the weird happenings had followed her into her waking life. She asked herself, whether this had been the true meaning of the saying "Living the dream" all along.
Yesterday, she had noticed a man with short black hair, wearing a brownish coat walking up to a column and leaning against it. So far there was nothing out of the ordinary about this observation. After a few seconds had passed, however, he suddenly vanished. At no point had she taken her eyes off him. Before she could even think about what had just happened, she saw that same man approach the column in the very same way again. About an hour later, an entire arriving train vanished into thin air, only to approach the station again mere moments later. Meanwhile, the TV screen was still shimmering and hissing away. Gina searched for the remote and with the push of a button, put an end to that farce. Then she grabbed her boots and started putting them on. She took a deep breath. "I'm living my dream."