I left my house at 7am to take the train to the city. It was an four hour trip, one way, to see a 2.5 hour show and spend $200. I hadn’t pampered myself with this luxury in months. The Wassiac train station was an hour from my house. The rolling hills of the berkshires turned into the rolling hills of Connecticut turned into the rolling hills of New York. The gps on my iPhone started out telling me I’d be two minutes late for my 8:30am train. The soundtrack to ‘Kinky Boots’ was blaring.
My mother took me to see my first broadway show in 1983. I was nine. Alfonso Ribeiro was starring in the ‘The Tap Dance Kid.’ The two kids in the show had major pre-teen and teenage angst. The show would probably give me agita today, because of the flashbacks. I was that kid, except white.
Tickets. Can I have your tickets please?
The conductor said while I was reminiscing. I stared out the window as the whistle of the train signified each town we passed. We stopped in White Plains and a small asian woman scrambled for a seat. She nodded her head to me. I nodded back, signifying that I would not attack if she sat. She squished her little body next to mine. This was the most, non-familial, human contact I’d had in years. She moved her bag in front of her. I glanced over uncomfortably. I knew she would be my new companion until we rolled into Grand Central station.
I felt the vibration in my fat roll. It tickled. I was sweating.
Your phone? I think it’s ringing?
The train careened it’s way down the tracks. My mind rushed to the news story of the same train turning a corner, unhooking itself from the track, tumbling down a hill, and killing 50 passengers a few weeks before. I longed for an ‘oh jesus’ handle. I wasn’t close to Jesus, except for my dishwasher Jesus, but I loved when he had a handled convenient placed in a friends car.
The woman talked in Korean next to me. She was serious, and disturbed. We were so close to each other that I felt like after this trip I’d be able to count her as family. I wanted to put my arms around her, hug her and tell her that everything would be ok. That felt inappropriate. Instead I leaned my face against the window and closed my eyes. I took a deep breathe.
I heard laughter, opened my eyes. An unsupervised ballon was rolling down the aisle with a drunk looking three year old following behind. A nervous mother followed grabbing the kids hand, reaching for the ballon. They moved past, didn’t find a seat and walked back.
You get up.
The woman poked me as she motioned for the kid and mother to sit down in our seats. I glared, then hesitated and walked over to the door. We passed Harlem and would be at Grand Central momentarily. We entered the underground. Who knew what would happen when we saw daylight again.
(to be continued.)