La Femme Assise

Even off peak, subway trains arrived every ten, fifteen minutes — though at the York Street Station, the passengers had to climb two flights of steps from the train platform, walk up a long concrete ramp and push through the turnstiles to get to the stairway and the only exit where Celeste was being detained by the bridge of her nose. It could take arriving passengers five minutes to get to the exit. A hotshot kid running the whole way would be faster. 

            The mugger tugged at her shoulder bag and tossed it up to the lookout. She let her body go limp. It would take him longer to search her pockets. Celeste had never been mugged before. She hoped they’d just take the money she’d been carrying for years for this eventuality and not turn violent. Born in Ohio and coming to New York to be an artist, she’d always been sensible about walking alone at night or in desolate neighborhoods. This was mid-morning, not traditional mugging time. Was nothing sacred?

            He jammed his free hand into her front and back jeans pockets, claiming her Metrocard and fourteen dollars in cash, all while maintaining a firm pressure on the bridge of her nose that made mouth breathing her only painful option.

            She’d chosen to live here in DUMBO (Directly Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) in Brooklyn because the lofts were big and cheap. She loved everything about the city: the art scene, the restaurants, the cultural activity, the energy of the crowds, the vitality of the streets. You’d meet a bad apple every so often, but what the heck. Certainly, someone, anyone would be by any second. Celeste just needed one or two people. She was living in the city that never sleeps. Where the hell was everyone?

            Now he was tugging roughly on her wedding ring. 

            She’d put on a few pounds since her wedding in eighty-eight. It was tight. But it was a beautiful ring. His great-grandmother had bequeathed the ring to Dennis in her will. It was French, old and very unusual. It was also free to Dennis which no doubt increased its attraction for him. The band was broad, pink-gold with a filigreed edge; diamond shaped insets of white gold encircled the ring with alternating inlaid ruby and emerald chips. 

cont. p. 4

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