I’m in a row boat, making my way through a sea of people. I’m taking short breaths and short strides as I make my way through the long passageways from the Times Square Shuttle to the A Train. I try to study faces and the activity of all who pass. Their side-by-side laughter, talking and rhythms make me feel like I’m a stranger in my own city. I seem to be the only one who thinks the underground passageway is laid out in the most ridiculous way; far longer than any stretch of a block long.
I take short breaths and silently demand to know where the hell I am. It’s not about reading the signs; I know that I’m walking to 8th Avenue line. I wonder if I’m the only one that wishes I was using an underground GPS. Does such an app exist?
I take short breaths and consider the day and time. I can’t help the flash of reality that wherever I am, it’s not a good place, day or time to have the City fall under attack.
I take short breaths and spot an exit sign. I kick myself for being a New Yorker who appreciates the value of a free transfer. As much as I would love to breathe deeply and see the sun, there’s no way, I would take an exit and pay my fare again.
I take another short breath and go down a flight of stairs to get another level further underground. I step to the edge of the platform and look for a light in the tunnel. And it occurs to me, that my time underground has just begun.
I take short breaths, as I step on the A Train which is running local on the F track. I may not exhale again until I see the brownstones of Brooklyn.