I’m in my twenties and I’ve got an unlimited metrocard and that means that New York City is mine for the taking any time of the day for as many days as she’ll keep me here.
It’s 2am. I get on the subway. I try not to listen to music when in transport, but sometimes the loneliness swallows you when you’re surrounded by so many people who are so seemingly uninterested in who you are and what your story is so you put in the headphones and you turn on the sounds because it makes it feel like someone is talking to you. Someone is singing to you.
But when the noisy silence of the subway car is broken up by an announcement of, “Ladies, gents, we’ve got a show here,” I shut off my phone.
A little boy who can’t be more than 7 years old is dancing. It’s happened so fast; I didn’t even notice music getting turned on. His older brother (dad?) is bouncing along on the side and eventually joins in. Two brothers, looking at one another, smiling big smiles as if it doesn’t even matter that there is a subway car full of audience members.
Little boy takes off his cap and walks around the car. I reach into my purse and I give the duo a dollar. Part of me wonders why they are out so late, curious if they are using their talents to hustle the necessary cash to survive in this expensive city or if they are simply using their talents for the sake of using their talents.
I’m 5 years away from being in my thirties. I’ve got to get my life together. I can’t keep chasing crazy dreams. What if I became a mother projecting singer songwriter dreams onto my child? What if, at 2am, I was playing a guitar to my baby girl’s voice on a subway platform? I wonder how much I would hate myself should that be a necessary action rather than a purely joyful one.
The subway door opens. A final thought drifts through my mind:
At 25, I am young, but I’m not free--I am now shackled by tomorrow’s worries.