The computerized voice boomed crystal clear over the speakers, this is the uptown Number 2 train 42nd street, next stop 72nd street. Stand clear of the closing doors. Its clarity fracturing another legend of old New York City the indecipherable voice of the NYC subway conductor.
On most nights my commute is like one of those beats headphone commercials, the ones where the athlete put on the headphones and is able to shut out everything in the world around them. I just want to close my eyes, turn up the music and pretend I am anywhere but where I am at that moment. But this Friday evening as I stood in my favorite spot, front of the car back against the forward facing door, I decided to pass my time by observing the commuters on tonight’s uptown number 2 train. One of the great things about my favorite spot is that it affords me a vantage point to take in the entire car and all of its occupants. Tonight’s crowd included the usual suspects. There were the business men in their expensive suits boasting to each other about the big deal they just closed or bitching about the big deal that got away. Never their fault but the fault of some co-worker’s incompetence, or at least that how they were telling it. There was the blue-collar crowd fresh off another exhausting 12 hour shift. Happy to be going home yet too tired to show it. And of course there were the millennials. Happily texting on their smart phones, joking and laughing and talking about what they got into last night and what they planned to get into tonight. Seemingly they had not a care in the world, but probably they were in need of more therapy than anyone else on the train, and in New York everyone needs some therapy. All in all I thought to myself just your usual Friday night crowd on the uptown number 2 train. But then I spied the couple sitting in the middle of the car. She had long hair straight hair with several colors to it and was dressed in an ankle length tie dye skirt and a tan tee-shirt with sunflowers on it. Her wrist was adorned with several bracelets that seemed to go halfway up her arm. She appeared to be in her mid-40s and upon closer inspection it was evident to who ever bothered to look she was quite striking. He was sporting a scruffy looking beard and wearing glasses, blue jeans and a long sleeve pull over shirt. His attire was not nearly as eccentric a look as hers except for his straight out of the 80s canvas Pro Keds, high tops and bright red. Despite what her hippy look and his red high top Keds might have inferred about them they were engrossed not in some counter-culture discussion but the New York Times crossword puzzle. They sat as close as you could get to each other, her leg was draped over his. They argued, they laughed and they got excited when they figured out a particular hard clue. They constantly looked directly into each other eyes and smiled. The look in their eyes gave away what should have been painfully obvious to me by that point, they were very much in love and likely had been so for a very long time. I thought to myself this couple was making their very own beats commercial. Nothing around them mattered, the only sound they heard were each other’s voices Their world consisted of each other and nothing else and it was clear that was alright with them. When their stop came he folded up the paper and said to her, this is us. They gave each other a quick kiss and instinctively grabbed for each other hand as they ambled off the train. Their interaction with each other brought a smile to my face. One that was much-needed after a long week at work and the desire to reaffirm my fragile belief these days in the concept of love.
The computerized voice boomed crystal clear over the speakers, this is the uptown number 2 train 72nd street, next stop 96th street. Stand clear of the closing doors.