December 23, 2002

Platform

It’s two a.m. in the 14th Street subway station. A woman, a blond in a dark coat, leans against a pole and possibly cries. She’s wearing nice shoes – black, fashionable – and dark pants that I can only see the bottoms of. I can’t tell for sure she’s crying because she’s facing away from the platform and because her hair comes down past her shoulders, hiding her face. Her arms are crossed and she appears to be shaking a little.

I’ve been pacing up and down the platform, walking three or four poles past her in each direction to disguise the fact that I’m trying to tell if she’s crying.

I think she is. I’ve considered saying something to comfort her, but everything I can think of is presumptuous and intrusive.

I once comforted a woman who had been hit by a car and was lying the street with a broken leg, crying in pain. That was different, though, because the woman was obviously crying and her leg was clearly broken and she was unmistakably lying in the street.