It Was You.
I remember the day I saw you.
I remember beating the snooze button on my alarm clock to death before finally putting my feet on the floor to start the process of getting my ass out of the door.
Rise and shine, or as they say in the military “Shit, Shave and Shower” and out the door. Feeling particularly ‘blah’ about the day, I remember feeling like something good was going to happen, no idea at all what, but something.
There I stood, waiting for my ride to arrive. My ride, also known as the D train in the Bronx, was a little late today, but I wasn’t too worried about it because I was running a little late as well, and once your late there’s no sense in rushing to be on time, at least in my mind. I peered down the tracks to see if my train was coming (a habit that I’ve formed since I’ve been living in NYC) and in the distance I could see the headlights getting bigger and bigger as the train sped closer, almost as if it were moving extra fast because it was late. The train finally reached my platform and a set of the huge double doors stopped right in front of me, which I always liked because I would hide behind the center of them and walk onto the train like I was a talk show host coming through the double doors, laugh if you will, but I’m always dreaming of the big time.
I took a seat against the wall, popped in my earbuds and tuned the world out to the sound of Mary J. Blige’s “Be Happy” (which happens to be the theme song of my life). Though I wanted to tune out the world, I kept the volume low so that I could still hear what was going on around me (gotta be at least somewhat aware in NYC). I closed my eyes and leaned my head back against the wall in an attempt to catch a few Z’s before my train made it all the way out to Soho. Trying to catch a quick nap on the train proved to be impossible as I kept getting shaken & awakened by the turbulence of the train. I decided to forget the nap and take in the sights of the culturally diverse people sitting all around me.
…and that’s when I saw you.
Our eyes connected for a quick moment, but that moment felt like an eternity. I nodded as if to say “how are you?” and you returned the gesture. All I could think to myself was how you grew more and more attractive to me with each glance. It’s almost like your beauty intensified every time I looked at you. I tried not to stare but I know that for a few moments, I was doing just that. My heart said to speak to you, but my mind said to put my head back, turn my music aaaaall the way up and go back into my nap zone. Needless to say, I listened to my heart…. Kind of.
I didn’t go into my nap zone because I knew that at some point, ONE of us would have to get off the train. I didn’t want to close my eyes, then open them to find that you were gone. Just as I got the nerve to move to a seat closer to you, the aisle of the train became a stage for 2 hip hop dancers who decided to provide us with some on-board entertainment which you seemed to enjoy, as did I. What can I say, the guys were good! After the ‘show’ was over, it dawned on me that I had only one more stop to go before I had to get off the train. The train had become more and more empty with each stop. What was once about 100 people in our car had dwindled down to about 20, making it so much easier for me to look at you, and more obvious that I was doing so. Once again our eyes quickly connected, my heart raced as I got up the nerve to go sit closer to you. At that exact same moment, I felt the jolt of the train starting to slow down. Typically, when the train starts slowing down, people are up out of their seats ready to charge out of the doors as soon as they open, but you remained seated. In my mind, I thought to myself “Damn… another missed opportunity”. I wanted to sit back down and stay on the train until I saw that you were about to get off, but time was running short and I had to get to work.
The train steadily slowed down, I looked at you one last time and nodded as we had previously but this time it was to say goodbye. I took my place in front of the double doors as if there was a stage marker there and when the double doors opened, I walked off of the train with my head held high as if I was being greeted by a live studio audience, clapping and cheering, happy to see me.
I walked over to the other side of the platform to gather my thoughts. I could hear my train pulling off behind me and see another pulling up in front of me. I stood there among what seemed to be a crossfire of people rushing about until the mass of people disappeared from the platform. I stood there for what seemed like ages as images of your beautiful face replayed in my head like a beat sample that I’m anxious to write a song to.
Rewind, the way your eyes seemed to glow.
Rewind, the way you smiled at me.
Rewind, the way you seemed to be inviting me over with each glance.
I pulled myself together and shook it off, knowing that chances of me seeing you again in NYC were slim to none. I headed to the steps of the platform and heard a faint voice say,
“Excuse me sir, but uhm… can you tell me how to get to 36th street?”
I instantly felt a little annoyed because I cant stand being asked for directions when I myself am rushing to try and get somewhere, but I’ve learned that when someone humbles themselves enough to ask for help, you should also humble yourself enough to help them.
I turned around to answer the voice…
It was YOU!
My heart started beating like an African rhythm on the congos. You know the music on that part of ‘The Color Purple’ where Ms. Celie was about to shave Mr and slice his neck open? Yes, my heart was beating like THAT!
I popped my earbuds out and had you repeat what you just said, knowing full well that I heard you perfectly clear in HD the first time but I just needed to stall a little bit to get my mind together.
“Yeah, I’m trying to get to get to 36th street”, you repeated.
“We passed 36th street.” I said, “That was about 4 sto.…. “ (I paused, thinking to myself “Oh no you didn’t”), “That was about 4 stops ago”, I continued, while slightly looking around to make sure there was no hidden camera crew and that I wasn’t being Punk’d.
The confused look on your face was so adorable as I whipped out my iPhone and launched my map app to show you where you missed your stop and how you needed to get back on track.
“See there…”, as I pointed on my screen to our current location. “We are at Houston and Broadway”, I traced my finger along the orange train route and stopped where it said ‘34th’, “This is where you should have gotten off and walked over to 36th”, I continued. Looking lost and confused as if you had never taken these trains before, you asked “Ok, how do I get back over there?” I’m sure there was a hint of sarcasm in my voice as I said “You just got off of a downtown train, take these stairs and go over to the other side and catch the uptown train to 34th St”
“Oh…. Yea…. That’s right” you replied & smiled nervously, “Thanks again” you said as you walked away, seeming as if you really didn’t have anywhere to go, and if you did, you were in no hurry at all.
“Hey no problem at all” I replied as I watched you walk away.
I was still unsure if you were as intrigued by me as I was by you. I watched as you walked away, hoping that you would turn around for one last look but instead you took to the stairs, making your way to the upper level. Hoping for a chance to get one last look at you, I double bounded up the back staircase and got to the top in just enough time to see you crossing over to the uptown platform.
“This is where I go, right?”, you asked.
“Yes”, I chuckled. “Go down there and take the D train back up to 34th” I said without stopping. I had played this game of Boomerang long enough and I had to get to work. I threw my backpack over my shoulders and ripped through the the turnstile then double bounded up 2 more flights of stairs to finally make it to the surface. I rounded the corner of Broadway and looked at the time, then I stopped in my tracks as I realized I had 10 minutes left before I had to be in the office.
“Maybe I can….” I asked myself as I began to pace among the foot traffic on Broadway. Before I knew it, I found myself jumping down the stairs like Q-bert, racing to get back down to you before your train arrived. I swiped my fare card and whipped through the turnstile in one smooth motion, I flew down the 2nd set of stairs so fast that my Jordans were blurry. I looked down the platform and spotted you right as the train came speeding into the station. The double doors opened and as a flood of people poured out of the cars you disappeared among them. I spotted you on the train and you looked up and saw me standing there. You smiled at me as if you were happy to see me again, almost as if you could read what I was feeling on the inside. I waved goodbye to you as the train began to pull out of the station, yet again, leaving me with another missed opportunity at potentially meeting someone special.
A vision of your beautiful face would replay in my mind all day!! All day long I wondered about you, How you were feeling, How your day was going and kicking myself for not being bold enough to say something to you. Hopefully time and chance will cause our paths to cross again. There was sooooo much I wanted to say as I watched you ride off, but the main thing I wanted to say to you was….
I hope you found 36th St, cause you got on the wrong fuckin’ train!!