Train Story #65408

March 21, 2007

Just about every aspect of New York life that goes on above ground also takes place underground in the subway system. And when you cram that many people into a confined area, you’re bound to create opportunities. Musicians find listeners. Sellers find buyers. Sinners find redemption. On and on it goes.

And sometimes, lovers find each other.

Now I’m not talking about teens cause everyone knows they’ve got nowhere else to go (or anywhere to be for that matter). They can’t make out with each other in their homes and they can’t get a hotel, so there only option is the PDA. Given their transient nature, the subway is often a favorite haunt.

And I’m not referring to the nice old couple who sneaks a kiss on the train after a night at the opera. While it’s cute and all, it’s also respectable. It’s descent. Seniors generally don’t get dirty in public (unlike the teens).

What I’m talking about is the covert rendezvous. The stolen kiss. The forbidden encounter planned down to the second and geared to occur amongst the crowds to raise no suspicions.

Sometimes if you’re lucky and observant you catch this moment and if they’re good, it takes you a second to realize what just happened.

Times Square underground during the morning rush hour. A man waits at the top of the stairs leading down to the N, Q and R lines heading downtown. A woman walks from the across the open space from the downtown 1, 2, and 3 lines. She heads towards him. There is no recognition at all. Travelers of the world swarm in all directions, each focused on their own destination. Musicians set up their instruments for the first show of the morning. The mans stands dead still. The woman approaches fast with a crowd from the 1, 2, and 3 lines at her heel. She approaches him and in a flash kisses him. They do not speak. Only their lips touch. The kiss is brief but no accident, no sentimental gesture, no hello, no goodbye.

And she is past him heading towards the Queens bound N, Q, R lines.

And he is down the stairs and headed in the opposite direction.

One brief moment. One brief kiss to hold all that emotion. To communicate all that meaning.

I smile as recognition sets in. Spring must be around the corner. At least the sun is shining underground.