Tuesday, April 12, 2005


Witnessed on the Subway this morning:

An attractive, raven-haired young lady dressed in black sits quietly in the furthest corner of the last car of the A Train, staring sorrowfully at her feet and generally avoiding eye contact of any kind.

A young lad with a buzz cut and a leather jacket rises from his seat, looking as if he has just stepped out of a Frat House. Preparing to get off at his next stop, he suddenly deviates from his course. His arm darts out, awkwardly reaching across several straphangers, a sweaty, crushed piece of paper in his hand. I can only presume his number is scribbled on it.

Raven-haired beauty continues to avoid eye contact, intently inspecting her shoes. The Frat boy's arm becomes annoyed as he punches the air three times, aggressively vying for her silent attention. She tenses, straining her neck to avoid even appearing to look in his direction. Finally, desperately, he throws the scrap paper at her; it angrily lands in her lap, eliciting an almost disgusted "tsk" from her. The shields have been breached, the defenses broken, and his smudged digits lay crumpled in her lap.

Brakes squeal. The doors open. Frat boy bounds off, into destiny. The scrap of paper remains, the only tangible proof that he had ever even been present on the train. The doors close. The station melts away into the darkness of NYC's underground tunnels. Her eyes lock onto the piece of paper. Suddenly, she looks up and our eyes meet. I have witnessed the entire incident. Her eyes scan my face for a reaction, perhaps even guidance. I shrug, bemused. This seems to satisfy her, and she reluctantly wraps her slender fingers around the paper, stuffing it into her bag.

Brakes squeal again. The doors open and I am at my stop. I brush past the straphangers and step off the train, into the rest of my day. As the doors close behind me, I glance back to catch a glimpse of the raven-haired lady mournfully staring once more at nothing. And then, in a hiss of metal, she is gone.