Two small Chinese restaurants across from the station, one next to the other, one half full, one empty. He watches as a small group stops to look at the menu outside the empty one. The waiter, probably the owner, rushes out to greet them, but they have already walked off and into the next one. He goes back inside and sits back down on his stool, silent, menus still in hand. At the ready.
He looks pitifully at the misspelt nonsense painted in neat lettering on the front windows and thinks, for a moment, that he could help. Sort out the signage, at least.
The train begins to roll off slowly. His head follows the path of the restaurant until it is vanished by the window frame.
The tragedy of natural selection is everywhere. He thinks.
He looks out into nothing, moved. The tragedy of natural selection.
He, too, is that tragedy.
He thinks. He imagines a wildlife documentary – him the subject. That pompous British voice, it follows him around narrating his failures with scientific objectivity.
His failure. The pathetic, wretched creature cast out by the herd. Loitering at the fringes, hoping with dumb animal hope to be adopted by some great generosity, pulled along by some miracle of fortune. But somehow, silently, the collective decision has been made. The tragic ending is already clear.
The voice doesn’t intervene to save him. Just narrates as the tragedy unfolds.
The tragedy of natural selection, of petty competition, is everywhere you look. And it is the ugliest thing in the world.