Strangers on a Train

I took the subway from Brooklyn to Manhattan. The train was crowded. A woman in the seat facing me was weeping. I turned off my music.

She was in her 50s. On either side of her were two young women. She was telling them about her boyfriend whose funeral she’d just left. How they’d been everything to each other their whole lives. Now she was going alone to their home. They were both artists and would work with their desks facing each other, and now his was empty. Oh, in the daytime maybe she could distract herself with work, but what would she do at night? She couldn’t bear the night. All she could think about was that he wasn’t there and never would be again.

They touched her hand and listened. They told her stories about their own bereavements. And beside them, other women like me wept silent tears and watched.

No, it’s not a heartless city.

Not an absolutely heartless city.

Avebury rose


About sputnitsa

Born in the US, I grew up in Africa and the West Indies, and returned stateside in my teens. After a decade in international development, democracy work, and inclusivity training for domestic NGOs, I joined Peace Corps, and after a year, experienced my first Russian invasion. I followed that up by volunteering with refugees and youth, and after some vacation time climbing minarets and mountains, I returned to New York City, where today I work on social justice with college students, produce short films, and write.
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