Time To Settle Accounts

January 31, 2012: Chips.

The girl held a bag of Doritos in one hand and her mother’s hand in the other, her arm stretching skyward, legs almost dangling as her mother pulled her aboard the Blue Line at Grand Ave.

“Up,” her mother said, “come on girl up.” The girl poked her toes at the ground, doing her best to follow her mother’s instructions, but her eyes wandered around the faces on the train and her fingers squeezed the bag of chips and her mother did the lifting.

There was a seat open and the mother said “Up you go.” Placed the girl on the seat. The mother was young, an old 20 perhaps. Once her daughter was settled she returned to her own bag of chips and sighed deeply.

The girl sat on the seat, big eyes, mouth open, fingers orange. Wore a turquoise coat and black snow pants and black boots. Wore white barrettes in her hair, both covered by her hood. Slowly, carefully, she pulled a chip from the bag. It was big, a triangle, a big orange triangle. It had small bumps and the slightest curve.

The girl put it between her teeth the tall way, stretching her jaw and grinding off the top of the chip. She then rotated it slightly and took a bite out of the corner. Took the chip out of her mouth and looked at its new shape, then tried to set her teeth back on the missing piece.

Suddenly she grinned. Set the chip halfway back on her teeth, bit down strongly, crumbs dropping to her coat, a big smile as she chewed, two more bites and the chip was gone. Drew another chip from the bag and repeated the process, grinding her teeth against the chip’s bumps, scraping off the orange, dragging her tongue across her teeth, looking at the orange on the chip and then chomp chomp and it was gone too.

“Come on girl. Up,” the mother said at Division, taking the girl’s hand. She gripped her bag tightly as they exited the train.

NEXT: A morning train to O’Hare. (2.3.12) [VIDEO]

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On this date, 2011: A request.

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