I was on the uptown A train when I noticed her.
She was wearing coral shorts, sitting in between two men with her bike leaning against the pole in front of her.
I heard a sniffle and her eyes were a little watery but I thought maybe they were from allergies.
But after a few more moments, it became clear that she was crying.
Her tears spilled down the side of her cheeks. She tried to wiped them away but only more came out. I wondered how long she’s been holding them in and what would cause a person to cry in the middle of a busy New York train.
But I guess it didn’t matter.
All it mattered was that there was someone hurting in front of us.
And I felt it all, as with the rest of the train. The atmosphere was silent but heavy from the tears.
No one interjected and no one interrupted.
We just let her cry. It seemed like the best thing to do.
And through her tears, we all recognized our own pain.
Our own misery.
Our own guilt
Our own disappointments.
And our own heartaches.
But all we could do was to let her cry because it felt like we were letting ourselves cry.
And on that day, I learned a very important lesson. To be more vulnerable and forgiving to myself when I cry.
Maybe that was the lesson I was meant to learn that day on that train.
When the train came to a halt, a man stood up, handed her tissues, and left without saying a word.
She looked surprised as if she was just remembering where she was.
And that was how I met the bravest woman in the New York City subway system.