Beats, under the melody. That’s New York City, it has a pulse under a rolling, chaotic sound. Not everyone hears it, but I did.
I was waiting for the F or M train, I’ve forgotten which exactly but it was definitely one of the orange ones. It was crowded on the platform, in addition to me being tired and sticky from the summer weather, my clothes fixed to my body like a second skin. I was praying that the train would come soon, didn’t even have to be my train, any train could whip past for a momentary breeze at least. I was sad and living on borrowed time in New York, lost hope and all that. I needed to sit and didn’t care about proximity. I’d just bumped into an old friend from Stella Adler. He was leaving for Paris soon, said New York wasn’t for artists, at least not the kind he wanted to be; Europe was a better muse. I had to agree.
He walked off and I turned to find a refuge, I found one between an old, Hasidic man and a Jamaican lady. I enseamed myself and waited. I had a box of Runts and was popping them in my mouth absentmindedly, when suddenly the Hasidic man leaned over and said something to me in Yiddish (I think), with a smile on his face. I looked at him questioningly, asked him to repeat himself. He said it again fervently, in his language, I was frustrated with myself at that moment and utterly curious as to what this man was saying. I was hoping it was some kind of rabbi’s prayer, finally, my good luck charm from the universe had arrived and I would be ceremoniously compensated.
My selfish imagination whirring, I asked him to repeat again.
The Jamaican lady on my other side tapped me on the shoulder as she’d been witnessing our awkward interaction; “He said he hopes you enjoy your meal,” she remarked in the familiar, lilting tones of my own origin. How did she…? I turned to her, eyes wide and watery. I looked down at the box in my hand and back at the old man, I only knew thank you in Arabic and lord knows I didn’t want to offend, so I thanked him the best I could, hands still clutching the hopefully kosher candy.
Then a breeze, the coming train whipped to a stop in front of us, I didn’t care if it was mine or not. I had to go, it was a perfect moment and staying would have staled the magic. I leapt up and with a wave, left them behind. I left the magic behind. It was the last of a pocket of small happenings that occurred during my final weeks in New York, the “runts” of my savoir-faire. All small and sweet, but never insignificant, never.