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Subway Love

*Disclaimer* I wrote this piece a while ago as part of a mini-writing club I'm in with one of my best friends...and by mini-writing club I just mean we occasionally send each other stuff we're working on. Anyway, I liked how this ended up so with no edits, explanation, or further commentary, I give you this quick post:

“I fall in love every time I ride the subway"

I hate the subway sometimes. I don’t understand how something that so many people rely on can be so, well, unreliable. I hate the dirty turnstiles and the way your card doesn’t always read the first time you swipe it. I hate the way the security guards always watch you like you’re doing something wrong if you hover for too long near the exit. They don’t recognize, from their cozy, air-conditioned throne, that some of us don’t want to step onto an overheated platform until we absolutely have to.

I hate standing in the middle of the cart, surrounded by people but lacking a bar to hold onto. I hate the way the people in the seats seem to hold a certain smirk of power over you. But I hate sitting. I especially hate sitting in a dress because if it’s too short I feel the warm plastic on my inner thigh and all I can think about is that one time I saw an old man jerking off in the corner.

And that’s why I don’t sit in the corner.

I hate the subway lines and the sticky platforms and the way people push. I hate the rats and the bugs. I hate the delays and construction. I hate the trash and the air. I hate the stereotypical business men and women as they rush to and from their transferring trains. I hate how unhappy they look. I hate the subway sometimes…but most of the time, I hate the subway because it makes me fall in love.

Sometimes I fall in love on my morning commute. It’s the cute young professional who – unlike the others – checks his watch with a casual easiness. He knows he might be late. He also knows there’s nothing to do about it. So he checks his watch to be aware, and settles into his spot in the cart regardless.

Sometimes I fall in love on my ride home from work. It’s the polite older woman who gently steps into the cart and doesn’t immediately look down upon the seated travelers. She makes her way to her destination and then, upon being offered a seat, graciously takes it all with a high head and a motherly smile.

Sometimes I fall in love on my late night trek home. It’s the young couple who are holding onto their books almost as much as each other. They’re both reading some literary masterpiece and one of them has an Ernest Hemingway quote running down their forearm. Occasionally, hair is tussled or playful glances exchanged, but they’ve had a long day and the commute won’t be quick. So she nuzzles closer to his shoulder and draws her eyes into the page.

You see I hate the subway because every time I get onto the train I fall madly in love with a stranger I will never see again. I find myself falling for an individual by their antics, their appearance, or their book choices. Every time I ride the subway, I fall in love with my imagined story of this perfect stranger who, like me, probably just hates the way the trains rattle.

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