She sits oppose me, her toes tapping in time to my disgustingly hipster tune played by The Decemberists. She can’t hear my music; it’s just a coincidence. Her nails sparkle with a hint of glitter from the ghetto, her lap filled with a bulky burden wrapped in a telltale fleece blanket embroidered with a small monkey. This is how some mothers keep their babies warm on the subways, in the streets, when the snow has fallen and the air has a chill, not good for little ones. Some mothers can’t afford luxury swaddling and the advantage of a driver.
Her eyes close ever so slightly and I know she can’t and won’t actually fall asleep with her bundle and the train. It might be the N, at 9 am, but she disembarks in a neighborhood as cold as the post-snow air, with no mirrors displaying what’s around the next corner. The tourists who alighted at 42nd street don’t see her, chattering and laughing in Russian this morning. Her face is impassive, her legs splayed. She has a long way to go this morning, and sits unconcerned and undignified, caressing the top of the fleece blanket with more intention than the whiny lead vocals filling my ears with their reedy melody.
I get off the train. It’s time to go to yoga teacher training.
“I didn’t need these things. I didn’t need them.”