Metro to a New Epoch

by Liza Sofia

I pass by Copley Square at a quarter to 11:00. Setting one foot in front of the other, I balance on the narrow red curb between the sidewalk and the gutter- between the past and present. By now, the drizzle has grown into profuse rain which seeps through my clothes. I fold my arms across my chest, desperate to conserve rapidly fleeing body heat. Through the faint glimmer of lamppost lights, I spot the steep, mud-ridden stairs of a metro station on the cross-streets of Boylston and Dartmouth.

At 5 minutes to 12:00, I grab the rusted handrail and begin the paleontological expedition down beneath the surface of the Earth. I descend through miles of fossils and petrifaction, stumbling over fragments of Trepospira shells. Cycad imprints adorn the limestone walls like distant memories who refuse to go extinct. I run my fingers over the outline of a leaf, feeling the tenacity of which it clings to the fabric of existence. With each step, I move further from modern-day and deeper into the Mesozoic.

At midnight, I reach the primordial core: a train platform that smells of dust and urine. I take a breath of stale air and nearly choke on the dampness. There’s a man seated on a wooden bench, alternating between smoking and coughing. He leans his back against a wall of chipped tiles stained black at the edges with mold and dirt. The man looks up at the sound of faint rumbling. As the sound gets stronger, I convince myself that’s it’s an asteroid, miraculously sent down so that I can begin anew. Instead, a white and green train emerges from a tunnel of interminable darkness. It coming to a screeching halt on metal tracks built upon prehistoric remnants.

I suppose the miracle isn’t in starting anew, but rather that the past and present are so intertwined that it’s impossible to tell where one ends and the other begins.

I get on the train at a quarter past 12, headed for a miraculous new epoch.

 

Liza is a 20 year old college student residing in upstate New York. Her work has been featured in various journals such as Coffin Bell, The Raw Art Review, The Paragon Press, and Night Picnic.