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Story — From the October 2016 issue

The Quiet Car

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Nowhere are we so exposed, so vulnerable, as on an elevated platform at a suburban train depot.

In balmy weather, choosing to stand outside to await the 11:17 a.m. to New York City instead of huddling in the depot, with its stained floor and malodorous restrooms and incongruously pewlike benches.

Seeing then, by the purest chance, for he rarely looks around in such circumstances, a person staring at him — unmistakably.

And this person, a woman, amid a gathering of passengers as oblivious of him as they are oblivious of one another.

Quickly he looks away. Is the woman someone he knows or has known? Someone who seems to know him?

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’s most recent story for Harper’s Magazine, “Lovely, Dark, Deep,” appeared in the November 2013 issue.

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December 2018