The Elder’s Seat
by Will Bailey
Would you like a seat? A hush falls over the quiet car of the 8:27 AM commuter rail. I stand and offer my spot by the window to a seventy-year-old salt miner who had just finished their graveyard shift. I know this because they are carrying a bucket of salt-two weeks pay. The frail miner mumbles a blessing in Latin, sheds a single tear, blows me a kiss and happily collapses in the seat I have just vacated. The car erupts in applause. “Hush everyone,” I snap at them, “This is the quiet car!” The passengers obediently stop applauding. Good, they understand. I am respectful of both elders and the rules. Perhaps they had my generation all wrong. I resourcefully grip the suitcase rack to steady my balance with the natural swaying of the car. “My goodness,” somebody gasps, “He’s using the suitcase rack as a hand railing. He’s…so badass!” I pretend not to hear this, instead fixing my gaze out the window as if I am inspecting the roof vents on a bottling plant our train is passing. “They’re all up to code,” the faint pulse of the vein on my temple seems to convey. A wild lock of hair brushes my forehead, but before I have the chance to discipline it, a gentle breeze lifts it back onto my scalp. Everybody in the car witnesses this, noting the pleasing aura surrounding my body (that which can only accompany the purest of heart and worldview). The gentle cooing of doves fills the car like a babbling brook. A chorus of angels- “HEY, YOU, KID! YOU WANT MY SEAT?” I stop daydreaming. An old man has just offered me his seat on the train. I take it. I must really look tired.