Gently she cried
I never knew why
I just held her
Until her tears
I never knew her name
She never knew mine
Unknown to each other
This is an odd but true story. About 15 years ago I got on the metro riding home after working very late one evening.
The train was almost empty when I got on, but there was a woman sitting near the door with her head bowed down. I remember she was probably in her late 30’s, early 40’s, dark hair about shoulder length.
That was all I could tell because her head was bowed down. At first I thought she was sleeping, but after a stop or so, I noticed she was softly crying.
I don’t know why I did it, but I switched seats to sit next to her. She never looked up, I never saw her face. I leaned next to her and slid my arm around her shoulder.
In retrospect, I’m surprised she didn’t react violently… a giant 6’3 man in his mid twenties sitting down next to her putting his arm around her. We’re I in her shoes I think I might have.
But she didn’t. She leaned into me, head on my shoulder and cried.
I missed my stop, but knew I couldn’t move, so I just sat. For several stops she cried, but at some point she stopped. She still didn’t move, she just sat there. And so I sat there, not moving a muscle.
We never said a word until one of the stops she stood up, and muttered thank you without ever looking at me and she left the train. I didn’t respond. To this day I can’t remember why not. Whether I was stunned, afraid to break some spell, or simply lost in the moment, I still don’t know.
I could have gotten off, I still needed to switch trains to back tack, but I didn’t. I sat there almost stunned.
Some times I regret not speaking, not finding out more. But usually not. There is something almost spiritual about that event.
I still think about that night sometimes. Wondering what her story was. Wondering if she wonders what mine was.
It’s interesting how our lives intersect; sometimes violently, sometimes gently, almost imperceptibly.