Branded products

The subway station looked as if it would stretch on forever into darkness. The dark tunnel obscured the walls, hiding from the observer any form of barrier from the abyss. It seemed that if you fell, no one will hear your screams as you fall through nothingness. No one will notice as you are eaten up by shadows, then claimed by oblivion. I sat on a bench in the middle of a rectangle of light made by the fluorescent bulbs. The brightly-lit advertisements of various branded products surrounding me are a comforting presence.

They are familiar as friends, as each product I have bought at least once on my daily trips to the mall. I knew them because they have cleansed, massaged, caressed, and comforted my body. I looked at each sign intently, listing which variant of each product I have not tried yet. There was another person on another bench, about a few feet away from me. He was in his twenties, I think. He had longish brown hair, stylish but not stiff; it had the ruffled look of a hand being passed through it several times a day. He wore a brown jacket over a black collar-less shirt, and blue jeans.

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He had on a pair of black loafers. He looked as if he had not shaved his mustache and goatee for three days. He was hunched over, reading a book, oblivious to the signs demanding for his attention. He was obviously into the book; his eyes crinkled with an almost smile every other page, or his brow from would furrow with concentration. I wondered how long he has been there, engrossed with the book. I wonder who he is, what he does, where he lives. I wonder why he’s staying in this station reading, or how he has the time to even read in a dark subway station, littered with the debris of human consumption.

I sense the approach of the train. I look up, and see the metal tube; splattered on its side are advertisements for fast-food chains. I notice only now the garish quality of the train. I used to think the advertisements were nice, all large letters in bright, bold colors. It just looked cluttered and cheap now. I looked at the stranger, but he does not even notice the train. I stood up and approached the train. The yawning maw of the monster swallowed me whole, and then went on its way into oblivion.