Friday, January 30, 2009

Not Alone

It snowed two days prior to this chilly New York morning. The snow had started to melt and I thought it time to put my snow boots away for a day. On went my sexy ankle boots that coordinated perfectly with my black tights and pencil skirt; fashioned for my last day of work before heading home for a Christmas break. Walking down my upper West Side, tree lined block the smell of breakfast was in the air. Turning the corner from the brownstones to the projects I rushed by moms and kids, students on their way to school and lots of busy people hurrying for their daily subway commute to work. Rushing down the subway station stairs, as I do everyday, I slipped. A patch of melted ice hidden from my unfocused sight snuck beneath my foot. One foot slipped off the stair, one heal caught, first hit my knees and then my shins hit another step and then another step, before I landed face down on the cold, concrete, subway station, floor. Body frozen, legs twisted, mulberry bag squashed beneath me, my mind was spinning. As I began to regain consciousness of my surroundings, I realized I was surrounded by a crowd of concerned neighbors. The C train they were all rushing for had come and gone as they stood around me trying to lift me. I tried to convince them to get on the train, that I would be fine, but they wouldn’t leave. More people came and tried to move me to a bench, but I insisted on staying put, perched on the step that bruised my ribs. As I insisted they get on the next train, most of them did…. But as more people came, more people stopped with concern. One man asked if I was alright, leaning down to look me in the face; I told him I was fine but just needed to sit there for a minute. He ignored me completely and ran to tell an MTA employee. He came back down, asked how I was again and sternly proclaimed, “You say you are alright, but your eyes tell me you are not alright. I am gonna stay right here.” Once I finally regained my breath and was able to assess the situation, I figured I was fine to limp back home. This friendly stranger stayed not too far off until I retreated back up the stairs, proving to him I would make it home. His kindness along with all the others filled my heart with a gregarious feeling of belonging. In that moment, my neighborhood claimed and cared for me. The rich diversity that encompasses my block wrapped their arms around me and called me their own. I am thankful for this city I call home.

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