One of my favourite and least favourite parts of New York is that there is no cell phone reception underground. Not when you’re riding the subway or simply waiting for the subway only one level below the street. It’s my least favourite because the worrier in me thinks about earthquakes and terrorist attacks and people with guns and what if I pass out and or what if I get sick or what if I get low blood sugar or what if that person sits too close to me or what about the guy who won’t stop yelling or what about the little gangster kids, what about *those* kids, and if anything bad were to happen I wouldn't be able to reach anyone in the whole wide world. Except that’s not true, because if you’re riding on the subway or simply waiting for the subway, only one level below the street, that means you are with a whole bunch of other people who have hearts just as you do. Hearts willing to help if something were to ever happen. So let’s stop worrying and think about the fact that we woke up this morning, opened our eyes, stood up, stretched our arms above our head, walked over to the curtains, opened them, was blinded by sunlight, and said to ourselves, “today is a new day , today is good. I am blessed to be here and I am going to put on my shoes and take the subway to work and go on with my day as I do everyday.” And you’re not on your phone because you’re riding on the subway and there is no cell phone reception and this is your favourite part of New York. There is no cell phone reception. You sit there with your shoes on and you’re present.
The expressions are drastic but all underlined with a tone of tiredness, a long day at work, another complication of life. We all sit there on the train like bobble heads as the train shifts this way and that way and dear god please hold onto the handles in the subway because these trains are nothing like San Francisco’s. I was sitting there one day, bobble head and all, and across from me sat a lady who was quietly crying. I watched her for 7 stops and wondered why. Why are you crying? She was insanely beautiful, maybe not to the standards of our shallow world, but to the real world, she was the prettiest woman I had ever seen. Her hair was dark, one strand tinted a royal shade of blue. Her makeup was heavy and perfectly placed. Her outfit was amazing. She looked so well put together in hew own unique way and yet here she was sitting on a subway train with myself and hundreds of other people crying. Crying. It’s strange because sometimes you can be sitting on a train filled with people, not alone in the slightest, and feel more alone than you ever have felt.
I noticed this girl because I wasn’t on my phone and distracted by all the things I could have been distracted by. I noticed her because I was sitting on the train, bobble head like, watching her cry, and so I took out my notebook and began writing her a note. I thought about what I should say, some miraculous words that would take her tears away and make her live happily ever after, but I had none. So on this extra large piece of paper I wrote in tiny handwriting, Tomorrow is a new day, and added my best version of a smiley face, which looked something like this:
The train stopped and I folded the note. She stood up and I tapped her on the shoulder. She turned and looked at me, smiling through tears, as I handed her the note. She took it and exited the train and I watched the doors close. I watched her walk on, the walls beginning to blur and the people beginning to fade, and as I turned to watch her disappear and cover her eyes as she began to sob some more, I thought to myself,
Tomorrow is a new day.