He slipped onto the tracks and we were plunged into darkness. Text messages Of love couldn’t get out. Stress and confusion built up like pebbles blocking a slow drain.
What did we know of him. Maybe he lost his footing, maybe his job, his wife or spouse also left his grasp. Maybe the weight of his life that kept him steady and upright shifted from heavy to light. From present to gone.
Now none of us were going anywhere. We worried if this would become our final resting place. A car full of strangers, below the movement of the city, temporarily entombed, underneath 125th street. A woman gets up, she wants air, wants her own oxygen, separate from what we have passed around like an offering plate, for over thirty minutes. We witness her panic, giving her terror allowance and room to spin out of control. She opens windows that offer us nothing. We cry just a little bit for home.
I sit and wonder how one decision changes everything. How despair can grow undetected like a cancer, or how a diagnosed cancer can wrap around your neck like a hungry cobra. Either way, your light is snuffed out and the world whirls on without you. Not a pleasant thought to have underground on a pitch black, powerless train with strangers who might very well be the faces you remember forever.
None of us knew the truth of this person, whether they fell or were pushed or deliberately stepped off the platform. Maybe two poor souls collided, one desperate enough to cancel the other one out. Who knows what’s in the mind of a man wanting to be erased.
He was saved. The light of salvation came into the subway car. For those of us who had made a connection with each other through a glance or a nod, shared quite smiles of appreciation.
I think about this person who assumed nobody cared weather they lived or died and wondered if he heard the prayers of the passengers lifting him up toward the light.