Ned's feet carried him down the steps into the station. A long corridor, white tile walls. A man tilted toward the wall, white vomit hanging from his chin, mouth grinning open, cackling as his urine arced out, splashing the white tile.
Ned paid with cash. Saturday night, the station was crowded. He pushed through the crowd, standing quietly to wait, his eyes moving over the posters across the tracks, none of the words making it all the way to his brain. He could hear people breathing around him, talking, laughing.
The train stopped and the doors opened in front of him. Ned stepped on board, moved down the train to the center and stood against the railing. He looked up at the people pressing in around him. A full car.
A young girl sat at the window, her face reflected clearly against the black of the tunnel. She was looking down, her face serene. She was beautiful. Ned's heart grew to take her in. Shining black hair hanging to her shoulders, a round face. She might have been Chinese. She glanced up, right into Ned's reflected eyes, her face softening into an almost-smile before looking back down.
Ned was in love.
Ned loved everyone on this train. The couple to his right, the girl sitting, her boyfriend standing, holding her hand. They were talking about a movie they wanted to see. The punk kid with spiked hair and an old leather jacket and a sweet flush on his cheeks. The brother with a glorious 'fro and shining suit. A man speaking Russian with his wife. A skinny blond girl hiding inside enormous sunglasses. They were all part of Ned tonight, not one of them knew how much.
Ned held out his hands to look at them, back and front. They were still. He was ready.
He reached into his coat, running a hand over the explosives against his body. Everything was there. He found the button, under his left arm, and tickled it with his thumb.
Ned looked around the car once more. They were all so beautiful, every one of them. He looked again at the Chinese girl, and her reflected eyes were on his again. She smiled for real this time. Ned smiled back, gratefully, and pressed his thumb down on the button.