The Underground

You’ve probably not been in there but you’ve passed it many times. Under the Grand Hall of Union Station is an underground waiting room. It was the “immigrant waiting room” for those with the cheapest tickets.

Later it became the “colored” waiting room, (just in case you thought official segregation stopped at the Mason Dixon line). There are tunnels that lead to it. One from the State House, another from near the slippery noodle. Ironic, because getting to the Noodle would get you to the underground railway that smuggled escaped slaves north.

It’s a Saturday night and above is the hum and bustle of the great hall during the Station’s incarnation as an entertainment hub. I’m down here, walked down the stairs from Illinois street listening to a torch singer singing about about loss and regret, making dispassionate love to her audience.

She could be singing about all the broken hopes and dreams of the ghosts that passed through this place. A tall wistful blonde in a long slinky red dress. I’m missing her point. I’m thinking I want to be her next heartbreak. But I’m not alone so I don’t even try. We just watch and enjoy the show.

And I miss everything.

© Glenn R Keller 2020, All Rights Reserved

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