The people stood in the cold underground waiting for the late night subway that only comes every half hour. They are all strangers. He warms them with the sound waves he produces with his guitar. One by one they begin to turn around as the waves wash over and the tide slowly caresses them in. The people gather in a semi circle around him, inching closer to really feel the waves, each now a part of the collective moment. They started out all in their own mental worlds, now they have expanded and turned in and they are all sharing the same world. Some sing the words to the song on the guitar. Others bob their heads, or bounce along with the beat. Everyone claps earnestly when the song ends, and happily show their appreciation by filling his guitar case with love. He did this. He brought people together in a city that idealizes lone wolves. He created this world of shared collective joy.
She knew it was the wrong decision. Before she even made the decision she knew it was the wrong choice. But she couldn’t help herself. If she didn’t go she would be haunted by what ifs. She knew exactly what would happen if she stayed. She would get a day job, work her evenings at the theatre, become even closer with her newfound group of friends. But this was a new opportunity. Move to New York City, a place she longed to be for most of her life, work on this show, which she was dying to be a part of. How could she turn it down? How could she say no? She knew if offered the job she would take it. She had to. She also knew this was the wrong decision.
Here, she know no one. She’s never been good at making friends. It’s a miracle she found two really good ones just before she left. But now they are half a country away. She is alone. She has always been alone, her whole life, but she is even more alone now that she had spent the past six months not alone. The absence of people that understand her is striking. The city is cold. The city is dirty. The city is full of people, but she is all alone. She knew this was the wrong decision. But how could she say no.
She shrinks herself in order to fit in between the two men sitting on each end of the subway bench. She folds herself expertly. You could almost fit two of her in the one space while each man is obliviously spreading themselves out. They don’t ever have to think about the space that they occupy, while for this woman, she is always making herself smaller in order to accommodate everyone else. She is versatile; she knows when to puff herself up and when to shrink. The two men on either side of her, with their legs spread wide and their elbows pointed out, only know how to be the size that they are. They haven’t had to learn how to morph themselves to fit into a space. They have been told to make the space fit around them. They haven’t been told to sit like a “lady” or had to constantly be aware of every male presence and how to escape a space should one of those males become a threat. The woman sits in this space constantly alert while the two men blissfully and naively can afford to tune out the world.