A Subway Hope

by

01/13/2008

On the F train, at and near the West Fourth stop, 10012

Neighborhood: West Village

I am standing on the F train platform, my toes just over the yellow line. I lean toward the darkness of the train tunnel. In the distance I can see the faint, low-lit squares of train windows passing through the darkness. Then there is the hollow rumble of the F train approaching from in between stops and the shine of train headlights reflecting off the tracks.

The train is reasonably full. Most of the seats are occupied and a few people stand. No one really wants to squeeze into the lone seat between two people taking up more than their share. I wiggle my way in between them. A woman sits across from me, looking sweetly at a man in the corner seat. His head hangs over one shoulder, his eyes have just slowly closed. His hand, resting on his knee, holds a coffee cup. The woman seems concerned that the coffee will spill when sleep causes his grip to loosen. She wraps her hand over the coffee cup lid and slowly slips it out and away. The man’s hand retains the shape of its grip, now holding on to the myth of the coffee cup. The woman smiles at him, waits a moment and slips her hand into his, changing its shape to a flattened and relaxed curving of the fingers.

The train pulls into West Fourth station. I stand up with the ding of the train doors. One of the men sitting next to me, against whom I had spent this moment pressed shoulder to shoulder, calls out after me, “Don’t forget to write,” he says, winking, as I step off the train car my gaze cast back on him.

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