Michael Olson

To the prompt: His world suddenly made sense. This was a tough one.

The list of things that Michael Olson did not like to do was long and varied. He fell in love when he was 25 and fell out of love when he was 34. When the latter occurred, he had a wife, two children, a $453,218.36 mortgage, and a job in the backroom of a Wall Street investment bank that required he do nothing but data-entry checks for seven hours each workday.

When he was 38, he was divorced, saw his two children every other weekend, lived in a one-bedroom rental in the northern Bronx, and continued his job doing nothing but data-entry checks.

Truth be told, Michael Olson never fit in. He was a disappointment to his parents. To his wife and children too. Even the supervisor who spot-checked his work. But mostly to himself.

Each day was ordinary to him. On an ordinary Thursday in early May, he stood on the Number 4 Train that he took to get home to his small apartment. And, as he ordinarily did, his mind wandered as he rocked in time to the train, paying scant attention to the others in the subway car. He was shaken from his reverie as the train jolted in fits and starts as it pulled into its final station, his station. He went down the stairs to the street. When he reached the door, someone held it for him. In that moment, in that glance, his world suddenly made sense.