A Carriage of Loneliness

New York Metro


Curly hair, black Adidas jacket, pale jeans and snickers. She seemed happy, or maybe not, maybe it was just the apparent absence of grief or distress. Or maybe she was just in an ok mood as she sat opposite me on the train, typing into her phone. There were people in the coach, men, women, standing and sitting.

When someone started crying, I didn’t think it was the girl on the phone. But it was. She put aside her phone and cried, shuddering as she sobbed.
The other people on the train looked at signs in the carriage, they looked at the advertisements, they looked at their shoes. No one looked in the direction of the crying girl.
Eventually she stopped and wiped her eyes. She picked up her phone and continued chatting, face set halfway between crying and refusing to.
I got off the train, wanting to say some words of comfort to her, but I am a stranger here. I don’t know how the natives deal with the people who manage to be lonely in a crowd. She has stayed with me, this girl, whose loneliness filled a carriage filled with poeple.

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