One of the things I find appealing about public transportation, however gritty, late and sometimes inconvenient, is its fundamental concept of sharing. Subway riders share space to in which stand and a handlebar to balance on; they share a seat with the stranger next to them. They share the same feeling of being rushed, whisking off to respective places of employment and education in the early morning hours and likewise, they share the horizon of home come dusk.
Yesterday, on the Red Line, with my back strategically resting against the wall of the subway car and my mind engrossed in the novel grasped between my hands, I paused my self-imposed concentration act to take in the view of the city nightscape – even more prevalent with daylight savings time – through the smudged trolley window, bedazzled by its beauty that seemed to spark and shimmer against cold, dark November sky. As I lifted my face from the words in that played between the pages, I saw within that same window’s reflection that other people – a younger girl, perhaps a student, with a mathematical text book in her own hands; a businessman entrenched in the demands of his Blackberry; a middle aged woman with more important things on her mind – had also lifted their heads up from their respective distractions, almost simultaneously, to take a minute and take in the same sights as I. Late-night lights left on in skyscrapers reflected in the Charles River; fading fall trees with leaves struggling to keep the foliage flame alive dotted along Storrow and Memorial Drives. Coupled with the soothing rocking motion as the trolley guided along, the faint ‘chug’ of the engine seemed to silence us all, as if to say, “this is your city; this is your life.” It was an ethereal experience, and it was real.
Much like the city of Boston lights up the night sky, it also lights up my heart, and I couldn’t help but wonder what my fellow riders saw in the picturesque view as we shared the night, the ride, our lives, our failures and our dreams for a brief moment in time.
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