Monica unwraps the Tupperware container with her salad from a plastic bag. She crumples the bag, tucks it under the box, and goes on to remove the rubber band that has been holding down the lid. After opening the box, she forces a quick whiff of air through her nostrils. The food doesn't have a permeating odor, so nobody in the train car should complain. She takes her fork and begins to pierce into the salad leaves, the nuts, and the raisins. She self-consciously puts them in her mouth and chews. As she tastes the savory flavor a feeling of relief ensues. She rests the fork in the Tupperware box and with her other hand reaches into her bag to pull out a can of Arizona Lemon Tea. She holds it in between her thighs and picks at the opener. A satisfying burst of gas hisses out of the opening in the lid. She lifts the can to her lips and takes a sugary sip, after which she carefully guides a silent burp out of her mouth. Monica bends down to place the can between her feet, safely clenching it with her ankles. She sits back up and proceeds to eat her salad bent over the box so as to make the whole procedure less conspicuous.
At the next station, the usual exchange of riders leaving and entering stirs the composition of the car. New passengers step in and awkwardly pour into the corners to claim free space. Monica tries to make her obstruction of the aisle as small as possible and pulls her feet close to her. Amidst the general noise she hears a metallic clanking sound that is immediately stifled by a liquid occupying the body of resonance. After that, the sound of splashing in ample gushes. At this point, Monica realizes that the can between her ankles had tipped over and spilled. She tosses the plastic fork into the Tupperware box, smashes on the lid, and bends down to grab the can. It has toppled over and in the short time that it has taken her to bend down, a good amount of lemon iced tea has spilled, creating a sizable puddle in front of the seat. Monica picks up the dripping can with her thumb and index finger and holds it carefully so as to not get any of the soda onto herself or the other passengers. She hears the doors close. The other passengers scoot awkwardly away from the puddle. As the train departs, the momentum of its acceleration causes the liquid to travel down the aisle. Monica lifts her foot to avoid getting it onto her sneakers. After the first slosh, the liquid seems to just sit there, wafting nervously. Monica places the dripping can down on the floor in front of her and braces herself for the time on this ride never to pass.
The train reaches a curve and has to decelerate. The tiny pearly canopy swells on one side until it bursts out and the liquid runs up the crowded aisle. As it moves further, the passengers move their feet out of its way. There is an occasional glance at Monica but that’s about it. She looks after the expanding line. A grimace of discomfort escapes her. She turns her face away. The tiny stream is almost halfway through the car and still going. A sticky nuisance with its trace leading straight back to Monica. She checks the display: seven more stations. A soft groan tumbles in her chest. The train is entering the next station now and Monica holds her face low. As the train comes to a halt, she picks up her stuff and the can and stands up. She doesn't look at anyone putting great effort into not letting a blush come over her face. The door opens and she exits.