At the Subway Turnstile

As I sit down to write, I had a plan. I would work on revision. I’d take this story written in another March and try to tell it again but from a different point of view. I was orally rehearsing it in the shower. I had a plan for how would sound telling it from the point of view of the woman in line with me at the grocery store. Instead, I just reread the story. I like it as it is, I guess because it is my story, my perspective.

However, rereading it takes me back to Friday and another women. So instead, I’ll tell that story now. I guess that other story helped me to brainstorm this story!

As the subway doors closed, I glanced at the map. My stop is the next stop, I remind myself. I glance into my purse to ensure my metro card in tucked into its space in my wallet and I zip my purse closed. I pat my right front thigh to feel my cell phone in my pocket and I stand and walk to the exit door. In moments it opens and I exit and look to the right and left. Seeing the EXIT sign to the left, I head toward it. A set of stairs appear and I head down them, remembering that here in Queens the track went above ground so it is down I step to get to the street level.

Then I see her. As I walk through the turnstile, a woman shorter than I am with dark black hair and tanned skins smiles and says something in a language I don’t understand and moves her hand. The motion of her hand mimics the movement one makes to swipe a card to get into the subway.

My mind recalls the $13.75 that showed on the screen when I entered to ride seven stops back. It also recalls how the subway rules are different in NYC. Unlike D.C, you just swipe to get in and don’t need to again swipe to get out. Because of this, multiple people can use the same card. It also recalls my recent reading lessons about power imbalances and being an upstander.

Instantly, I unzip my purse, pull out my card sticking up from my wallet and hand it to the lady. She smiles, swipes herself in and hands the card back to me saying one word I do understand, “Gracias.”


11 thoughts on “At the Subway Turnstile

  1. lgrainger125 says:

    Great story. You’re detailed from your point of view. I do wonder what the woman sees, how she feels about asking for the swipe, how she feels after the swipe and where she is going. Your details earlier in the text lead me to those questions. Great job!


  2. margaretsmn says:

    Riding the subway is not a common experience for me, so I think I would’ve been confused by the woman’s gesture. So nice that you understood and were able to offer help.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. wordjourneysite says:

    The lines: “I glance into my purse to ensure my metro card in tucked into its space in my wallet and I zip my purse closed” and “I pat my right front tight to feel my cell phone in my pocket” ring so true for me – I do this almost obsessively when I’m traveling. For a minute, I thought the woman was going to steal from you…
    I wonder what she thought about your kindness – what her point of view of the interchange was.


  4. Fran McCrackin says:

    First, I like how you share your writing plan and how it evolved.
    In this piece I like the contrast in how you checked and secured all your belongings, versus your openness and willingness to get your card out and share with a stranger.
    Can you reflect on why? Did you want to right away, or did you have to talk yourself into it? Was there something about her that caught your sympathy, or made a connection? Your post leads me to curiosity…

    Liked by 1 person

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