The empty train car came to a halt, jolting Dan awake. He was exhausted, he hadn't slept in days, a combination of insomnia and add kept his mind racing day and night. One nap would have to be enough for tonight. The sun had set since he hopped the train to Manhattan an hour earlier. Just four more hours to go he thought to himself. Yawning, he bent down to brush the dirt off of his newly stolen thrift store shoes. They were shoes his grandpa would have admired, faded leather worth every cent of the four dollars he didn't pay for them. They were practically his favorite possession, were it not for the dark red scar that graced his right kneecap. It was souvenir from his first Student Anarchist rally; the eighteen year old NYU freshman lived for these wounds. His frail body was covered in reminders of triumph, protest, rebellion. The train was dark and smelled of ammonia, the kind of smell that reminded Dan of vomit and coffee spills. Strangely enough, the sharp smell was comforting... pleasantly familiar. He adjusted his tortoiseshell Ray Bans and leaned back in his seat to breathe in the scent.
The Boston cityscape had long ago melted into browning hills punctuated by sharp bare branches. The moon seeped into every inch of the landscape, illuminating the night in waves of iridescent light. Dan took a sip of his cold tea, organic White Peony. He sloshed a mouthful of the over-steeped beverage through crooked teeth, letting it slowly wet his throat. He let the clean smell of spring waft up from the still surface of his paper cup. He was used to the train; the cold draft that made his eyes water, the inconvenient naps, the asshole conductors who raised their eyebrows at his awkward limbs and unkempt hair. What did he care? They didn't bother him. No. He was in college now. He was far beyond all the judgmental high-school bullshit. He had protests to organize for Christ's sake. This year was going to be different, this year had to be different. Smirking silently in his seat, Dan seemed more than sure of himself. Little did anyone know that his biggest fear was that nothing had changed. Daniel Hunter was far from okay.
TEXT by Martin Gaston+ IMAGES by Gillian Kirkland