The Brown Line Talks

Maybe the voice is a father. Maybe the voice is not a legal North American citizen. Maybe the voice likes to go Monday night bowling with greasy buffalo chicken fingers. Maybe you’re misgendering the voice. Maybe the voice has been altered. Maybe the voice is a Virgo. 

When the voice on the train starts saying something new, your ears perk up to the tonal differences, the way it says “nose” when prior you’d find it strange to hear it say that word at all. Stranger even to hear it say “mask.” 

You didn’t really give much attention to the voice on the train until the messages changed. “Face covering” traveled to your cochlea like a shot of lightening. You used to ignore the lull of the voice saying, “Doors closing.” Now, the voice has a new, closer tune. 

It was one of those moments when you realized how much the world changed, how many people affected—a non-comforting universality. 

Or maybe instead, this really is a marvel, a diamond in the rough, that we are all in something together. War tends to feel far away if you don’t know anyone in it, if it’s abroad. This, somehow still, is invisible combat. 

When you ride the train, there’s a swirl to it; you cannot go against its gallop. In order to stay upright, your feet must be planted, sway with its motion. And as you ride inside of its body, realize the voice is traversing through all of this with you.

Sophie Amado

Sophie Amado graduated with her MFA in Creative Nonfiction Writing from Columbia College Chicago, where she also taught undergraduate writing and rhetoric. In 2014, she received a Fulbright grant to teach English to high school students in Madrid, Spain. Her work has appeared in The Rumpus, Sheepshead Review, Ponder Review, and others, which you can read on

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