On the train

The G train was running late this morning. There’s a surprise, huh?

How the 5 earns its worst train in the system status when the G is out there, routinely running 20 minutes late, stetching only halfway down the platform so that you’re always waiting near the wrong stairway and have to run to catch it before the doors close, is beyond me.

When the train finally arrived, it was packed. We who had been waiting on the platform pushed our way in. Everyone in the train sighed and cursed us quietly. The conductor tried to close the doors to our car three times before they finally shut.

Someone’s backpack pushed my head forward. A tall man next to me steadied himself by placing his palm on the ceiling. I got a grip on a pole only by stretching my arm one inch in front of the face of a woman even shorter than I am.

When I apologized, she seemed agitated. She pulled at the gold chain around her neck, her fingers covering a nameplate so I could only see the “e” at the end. She looked at me, and I noticed that her eyes were puffy and red. “No, it’s okay,” she said, and turned back to her friend.

“If I can’t have a girl, I’ll adopt,” she said.

The friend nodded.

“It’s hard. To carry the baby for six months, five months, then lose it.”

“It’s hard,” the friend said.

The woman teared up. I could tell she wanted to wipe her eyes, but my arm was in the way. I pretended that I needed to adjust my purse so she could do it. I fished around for a pen. I found one, examined it, and then put it back in.

“How many times did it happen?” the friend asked.

“Four. I only lose the girls,” she said. “I don’t know why. My body doesn’t like the girls.”


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