Radiant love in an over-filled train car
I completely underestimated her. The train was hot and humid and stuck full of people and I was wedged into a corner with my bike handles digging into my ribs and the back tire leaving rubbing marks on some guy’s luggage. When the train halted and the doors blew open, a new swarm of people came surging in to fill whatever space was left and she pushed a stroller on with two young kids inside and pulled another child along behind her. She was tall and dark and had on a pretty blue halter top that stretched around her inner-tube chest.
Her youngest was strapped in and eating a pastry and his face and shirt were covered with crumbs and saliva. As the train lurched out of the station everyone grabbed a bar or a seat-back or a handle for balance, but we still swayed and bobbed and bumped each other without even a look or an acknowledgement of the touching. The oldest boy, too short to reach anything sturdy, stumbled amongst knees and thighs and shins, but she caught him with a steady hand before he went down and gave him a warm smile.
She was peaceful and calm surrounded by the hustle and anonymity of commuters and smelly bums. She stood stoically and implored her oldest to administer a drink to the youngest, which he did, while she gently caressed the middle child’s lolling head. The youngest pined for a sugary drink and let out a yelp of dissatisfaction at the water in a 7up bottle that his brother brought him. She tapped the youngest on the head with a finger and told him to drink in a voice so soft it was inaudible. The young child delighted at her touch, and quickly drained the last drops from the bottle with an “Ahhhhh!”
All of us around offered a chuckle and a smile to the little boy drinking, and we felt his pleasure, crafted by his wonderful mother, not just for him, but for all of us who needed to be refreshed with cool, clean, pure emotion.