The air conditioning was blasting that day. It was a hot summer day in New York City. I was going uptown.
I heard a sniffle across from me and I looked up to see a woman in coral shorts with tears in her eyes.
I thought maybe it was allergies or a cold?
But soon, tears started rolling down her face.
I could tell she was trying to hold it in. She tried to blink them away and wipe them away so no one would notice.
But it was useless. It only created more.
I watched her as she gave in to the tears.
Finally, she just broke down and sobbed quietly.
The entire train watched.
We didn’t know what to do. We all felt her pain. The humanness of it was undeniable.
We all knew what it’s like to be there but most of us would never have the courage to show it even to the people we love, nevertheless on a public train.
I wondered to myself, what can be causing this woman so much pain that she couldn’t stop herself from crying on a busy train?
Was it a death?
I didn’t know and it didn’t really matter because it seemed like she really needed it. It seemed like she had been holding them in for a really long time.
Her sobs were painful and deep.
As the train came to a halt, so did her tears, and she looked up as if she just remembered where she was.
A man got up and handed her tissues.
She was the bravest woman I’ve ever seen on the subway.