The train grinds to a halt and the hydraulic doors open making the familiar wooshing sound that they make at every single stop.
Riders of every walk of life stood up minutes before the train slowed, preparing to off themselves and their belongings. Their affects told unique stories about each of them — many men carried briefcases, many women carried purses. It is clear that the value of the contents of the bags did not come close to the value of the bags themselves. Nonetheless, the bags did their faithful duty of transporting cargo daily, but not without bearing the scars and scrapes of a daily subway commute.
My favorite rider was a man in a suit with designer reading glasses. He sat with his head back and his eyes closed with a newspaper on his lap. Covering his feet were a pair of ratty, old running shoes. I just imagined him arriving at his penthouse office and pouring coffee into a mug then opening the bottom drawer of his desk to reveal a freshly polished pair of Oxfords. I imagined him slipping his feet into them while the steam from the coffee evaporated inches over the cup, then putting his ratty, old running shoes to rest in the same drawer until he returns home in the evening.
The engineer’s voice came over the intercom, “Grand Central.”
All of the riders that have prepared themselves to leave are now pushing their way through the riders who are boarding. The sound of drums played by a homeless man who has claimed a portion of the Grand Central underground as his own are setting the pace for the morning rush.
I move with the crowd of people up the stairs, like trout swimming upstream. The sound of the drums grows distant and is replaced by a young man playing the violin.
We move quickly across the underground deck passing the violinist, several police officers and intersecting with an even larger crowd of people before merging with another crowd to climb yet another flight of stairs.
The sound of the violin fades away and is replaced by the distance chatter of a mass of people. My crowd takes one last unified turn towards the food vendors before dispersing.
I go out to the main concourse, there’s the sign, “42nd Street and Park Avenue.”
Six beautiful light rays shine down through the roof, three on each side. They look as if they are the pillars that support the heavenly walls of the terminal.
I emerge onto the street leaving the business man, the drummer, the violinist and the crowd behind. The sun momentarily fills my eyes with white. New York.