Finally, after an eternity of seconds, the doors conceded and sprang open. The man staggered into the car. Five more commuters piled in behind him.
Riding home around 9PM tonight, the woman across from me was knitting an electric-blue something -- a scarf, it looked like. At 7th Avenue she stood up, setting her work and the ball of yarn in her tote bag, and walked to the train doors. As she walked, the ball of yarn toppled out of her bag and onto the floor, dangling by an electric-blue strand, but she didn't see it. She leaned out of the train doors to check the stop, and the ball trailed behind her -- and then it kept rolling right into the gap, the one you're supposed to mind when stepping off the train. She tried to fish it up by pulling the string, but the ball stayed down below. She tried again -- and now the train doors were about to close on the dangling string. I had a vision of the ball of yarn catching on something, of the force pulling her through the doors, of an arm being caught, a face smashed against the glass. All I could do was draw in my breath -- and the doors started to close, and she let the half-finished electric blue scarf fall from her hands beneath the tracks, joining the ball of yarn.
She walked back to her seat with a funny pout, the same one Sarah made when I told her this story. I know that expression; the one New Yorkers make that says "did anyone else witness this totally bizarre thing that just happened to me?" They had. We pouted with her.
"I'm so sorry," I said when I caught her eye. "Thank you," she said.