Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Nobody Has to Know Excerpt
That day was particularly warm. The train was crowded and he was sweating more than he
would have liked. His knees felt weak and timorous and his breathing was labored. As the
train sped toward Manhattan, the colliding of worlds in Cam’s head continued to enervate his
present resolve and burgeoning panic prompted him to leave his seat on several occasions.
Stops at Valley Stream, Jamaica, Kew Gardens and Woodside seemed like opportune moments
to flee the train and put an end to this insanity; he was close enough to the exit to feel the
warm air outside once the doors opened, but he sat back down each time and decided to stay.
He spent much of the remaining ride thinking about Nikki, how he was shocked and alarmed,
yet somehow touched, that she had offered to him her emotion – so quickly and so naked and
true. It unnerved him, made him question repeatedly the sensibility of such a situation. But it
also made him crave her even more. The paradox was mastering.
Penn Station was crowded. The smell of coffee and baked bread grew stronger as Cam leaned
oddly against the side of a trash receptacle, as if he were trying to balance himself while
thumbing perfunctorily through a Christian Right pamphlet he had been given just moments
before. He stood there, pretending to be relaxed, his eyes vacillating between the apocalyptic
visions delineated in his reading material and the surging crowd washing across the station
floor. He was uncomfortably warm. Random thoughts floated through his consciousness, a
stream of separate bubbles that presented themselves individually for a fleeting second, then
burst just as fast, vexing him momentarily before giving way to the next bubble in the fizzing
There were so many things to consider. Did he really want to risk his reputation and career for a
few minutes of ecstasy? The longer he considered it, the more he realized how stupid it all was.
He should have gotten off the train. Even though he was miserable at home, Hayley was still on
his mind. What would she do if she ever found out? He wondered briefly if he had been fair to
her about her job and some of the other issues they fought about, and if things with the two
of them were really as bad as it seemed. He also thought of everyone at Hillcrest. He loved his
colleagues. And those kids. They made him feel special – like he mattered. And despite Hayley’s
claim that his efforts really did not matter all that much, they loved him too. This dormant
sensibility rose to the surface and collided with the thrilling discomfort he was feeling. The
possibility of losing everything, especially his reputation, was a suffocating prospect.