It would still be another half hour till the train arrived, so Wenton decided to sit with a depressed look on his face. He rejoiced in the subtle pity in the faces of bystanders who assumed he had had a tough day. And that was partly true. Today his co-worker accused him of complaining too much.
What else could he do to pass the time? Wenton decided to meditate. He shut his eyes, and the footsteps and chatter in the waiting room seemed to subside to a whisper. His lungs swelled heartily, and shrunk back in. With every breath the room seemed to morph to reflect the sound waves a tiny bit better, and after some time the room had achieved a perfect echo. Abstract noises; none concerned him.
How long had Wenton been doing this? Maybe the train had already come and he was here in this oblivion! His feet whooshed onto the floor of the train station. The fog lifted off the noise around him, and he could once again hear the specific words of nearby conversations. And now it had become clear—the state he had just been in: that wasn’t oblivion; it was truth. The woman who was just sitting down beside him—he found himself knowing things about her that he never would have known prior to meditation.
Wenton’s parents had once told him that he had been on television before he could remember. A character on a soap opera had just given birth, so the company required a baby to play her new child. But now he recollected the experience that had dwelled for years in his subconscious: Wenton had known instinctively that the woman holding him had not actually been feeling the emotions she had been displaying. His child’s intuition had somehow told him that everyone around him were merely actors.
That actress, now sitting next to him in a train station—he could barely recognize her aged face—was the cause of all his adult problems. Because of this deceptive woman’s influence, Wenton had subconsciously learned that it was acceptable to feign drama for attention. That explained so many of his actions, from the artificial countenance he was holding at the very moment, to the grandiose lies he had told his young nephew. Except that his countenance was growing truer by the second as his anger gathered against the woman next to him. He glared at her. She only looked straight ahead, waiting in her ignorant unreality. The corrupt fool, his fictional mother.
Wenton blinked up at the lighted timetable mounted on the wall. He had missed his train.