Tunneling

There’s that extended moment in the subway—when I’m on the train and we head into one of the long, darker tunnels and the lull between stations seems longer than usual. Much, much longer than it should be. This happens during my morning commute when I catch a certain express train, a 30-block trip along a long, dark enclosed section of the track. The line must split there with the local trains, because as we speed ahead to the next station I can’t even see the local running alongside us, though I know it has to be there, somewhere. Sometimes I stand at the head of the first car, looking out the front window. Other times, I sit, or I cram in with everyone else and grab a pole, and I wait. And wait.

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I know it’s not rational, but I get this doubt. Like the train made a turn it wasn’t supposed to. Like the tunnel I know for a fact had an end yesterday won’t end today. There’s fear in that feeling, and also excitement. Where are we going? It’s not to the office, is it? It’s way past Midtown; it’s off-island; it’s someplace I’ve never seen.

Mostly, though, I’ll admit I just feel doubt.

Then, just when I think it won’t happen, the train approaches the light. There’s the station and now I can see the platform and the bright lights washing through the windows and the brakes slowing and the doors opening and I feel… foolish. Nothing was wrong. We were on the right track. We were going to stop here all along.

This is way overly symbolic, but—you guessed it—it’s how I’m feeling now. I’m between stations. I’m in the dark. I’m doubting that there is a next station, that the train will ever stop. But I always reach it, don’t I? Just at that moment when I think it won’t stop it stops. It always does.

My freelance project went terribly today. I think because I know it’s the last one (I keep repeating this in my head to myself: it’s your last one; you won’t take another; I won’t let you; it’s your last one, your last one, your last one) reaching the end is all the more miserable. The 30 blocks I have to go feel like 3,000. In page count, I’ve reached 20 out of 80, and the deadline is in less than two weeks. I really do have a long way to go.


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