She sped through the Chicago Avenue Red Line crowd in that space between the turnstiles and the stairs, weaving around this person then in front of that one in an important dash to get somewhere, probably work in a Gold Coast office judging by her suit and slick shoes. On her arm she carried a paper bag from one of the department stores down here. It bounced off commuters as she slipped in between them. Strangers exchanged quizzical looks as she dashed past and disappeared up the steps like fog.
I stepped off the top stair and onto the sun-soaked morning street to begin my own resolved march to work. The first obstacle is always the crowd gathered in front of the McDonald’s, a daily collective handing out flyers and talking loudly, shaking cups with change and seated with signs on the drive-thru adjacent walkway. I never have anything for anyone.
I’m halfway through the gaggle when a novel obstacle presents itself: a person, crouched mid-sidewalk. It takes seven steps for it to register that this is the mad dash woman with the department store bag. She is face-to-face now with one of the sign holders, lifting a takeout food container from that bag to hand to him with a deliberate smile and earnest wish for a good day. I hear it all in a quick stroll past. The shame pops first in my stomach.