Monday, May 12, 2014

'when i am an old woman...'

There's a tunnel at the down-the-hill entrance to the A train at 190th Street. It's long and damp and warm in the winter and cool in the summer, and footsteps and voices echo up and down its length in distorted and sometimes funny ways.

Yesterday morning I was up and out the door by 6:30 and jogging along Bennett Avenue, admiring the steady thump of my feet against pavement and the lush green that's finally exploded throughout the city. Out of the corner of my eye, just before Bennett starts to curve down toward Broadway, I noticed an old woman standing in the entrance to that tunnel. She was wearing an ankle-length mostly cream-colored patterned skirt and a bright purple wide-brimmed hat, a stylin' purple purse caught over one arm. She was just standing there, one hand propping the door open, leaning in.

And as I approached her, I thought I heard an odd noise. A hooting, chirping, giggling sort of noise. And I realized, after a moment, that this little old woman was hooting into the tunnel, and seemed to be giggling at her own voice echoing back at her.

And I loved this so much, loved this woman so much that in that moment I wanted to run over and give her a great big hug. I don't know whether she was going to the subway or just walking by when the compulsion to shout out into this long tunnel overtook her -- a compulsion I understand all too well.  And why not, I imagine her asking herself. Who's to know, so early on a Sunday morning, that she is not always decorous or demure, who's awake and around to see such shenanigans?

I'm glad I was awake and around to see them, and hope that she found it as pleasing as I imagine she must have.

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