Commonwealth: A Novel of Utopia, part 2, chapter 1
Author’s Note: This is an excerpt from my novel Commonwealth. The rest of today’s installment is free, but only on my Patreon site. If you want to read the next part today, it’s already up on Patreon as well. You can sign up for as little as $1/month, or $2 for exclusive author’s notes and behind-the-scenes material. There’s also a table of contents for all published chapters.
Rae considered her options. She felt as if she were being pulled both ways at once.
She had so many questions – about this place, about its people, especially about Will Anton and his connection to it. If she were to leave without getting answers, she knew that her unsatisfied curiosity would torture her for the rest of her life.
On the other hand, she felt cords of obligation tying her to her old life. The thought of Zoe and Michael was like a light in the corner of her eye, as if she could sense her friends’ need across the miles.
Beyond that, she thought of the subways. Despite the petty frustrations, despite the fears and the dangers, she loved her job.
She loved the glossy smell of fresh green paint, the nickel-bright gleam of polished tracks, the rattle of train wheels, the mosaic artwork of the stations, the brick arches of the deep vaults, the feel of grease under her fingernails. She loved the maze of tunnels and gates and bridges that cradled the city like cupped hands.
She loved being part of something bigger than herself, a tiny wheel that helped keep the grand machinery moving, shouldering her part of the burden that generations of engineers had handed down to the present. She loved how the job brought out the best in her, proving she could solve every new problem it threw up, keeping immense engines running with her mind and her hands. She felt, even now, that she was betraying New York by walking out on the job.