I was on the uptown A train when I noticed her.
She was wearing coral shorts and sitting in between two men with her bike in front of her.
I heard her sniffle and her eyes were a little watery but I thought maybe they were from allergies.
But after a few moments, I noticed more tears and it became clear that she was crying.
Her tears spilled out down the side of her cheeks and when she wiped them away only more came out. I wondered how long she’s been holding them back and I wondered what would cause a person to cry in the middle of a busy New York train.
But I guess it didn’t matter.
All it mattered was that there was someone right in front of us hurting.
And I felt all of it, as the rest of the train did because I’ve never heard a train so silent in my life in NY.
No one interjected and no one interrupted.
We just let her cry. It seemed like it was the best thing to do.
And through her tears, we all recognized ourselves.
We all recognized our own pain.
Our own misery.
Our own guilt
Our own disappointments.
Our own heartaches.
And all we could do was to let her cry because it felt like we were letting ourselves cry.
And on that day, I learned a very important lesson. To be more vulnerable and forgiving of myself when I cry.
Maybe that was the lesson I needed to learn that day and why the universe brought me on that train of all the trains in New York City.
And when the train came to a halt, a man got up and handed her tissues, and left without saying a word.
She looked up surprised as if she just remembered where she was.
And that was how I met the bravest woman I’ve ever seen on the subway.