She sways slightly.
One girl on a train carriage filled to the brim with over-heated, down-jacketed commuters. Those sitting pretty around her look up in horror. They register the bloodless face, the sway becoming deeper and know they have to break the commuters’ code of non-communication.
The two women sitting closest share a pregnant glance. “What do we do?” and “Do I really have to stand up on this blasted train?” and “Which one of us is it gonna be?”
One takes the lead. “Would you like a seat” she says, falteringly. As the girl’s sway becomes deeper and she appears on the precipice of becoming wholly horizontal, the woman jumps up. “Here, sit down, sit down” she says, guiding the girl downwards to safety.
The girl sits, head cast down, pale and fearful.
Others pipe up.
“Has this happened to you before?” ventures a classic paperback reading fellow dressed older than his years.
The girl looks up, huge brown eyes confused. “No” she says.
“Do you feel dizzy or faint?”
“Both” she says.
The man returns to his book.
One woman, the one who did not stand, fumbles in her bag for some water. “Here have some water. Do you want a granola bar?”
The girl’s arm reaches out for the water and she takes a few slow sips. “I have a granola bar in my bag” she replies.
She sits quietly. The man continues reading. The other women go back to their phones.
The carriage relaxes back into comfortable silence.
As the train draws into the city, the girl rises with the throng and continues her way to work.