I lived in Manhattan. All the trains except the G train go through Manhattan, and in Manhattan the trains are always crowded. For the first few stops into the outer boroughs, the trains still tend to be crowded. Then people start getting off. Occasionally people get on, but mostly they get off. With each stop, there are fewer people until there is no longer a crowd but just some individuals.
One day, I was on I don’t remember which train going I don’t remember where, but I was on a train which wasn’t one I typically took heading to the outer boroughs where I didn’t typically go. It was one of the trains where the seats were two lines of benches facing each other. We rolled deep into the outer boroughs. Eventually, there were only a few other people in the car and there was a couple sitting across from me. Two young people. I would guess them to be about twenty-one or twenty-two. The woman was asleep, her head resting on her boyfriends shoulder. Her boyfriend looked down at her, and, with great gentleness so as not to wake her, brushed back a lock of hair that had fallen across her face.
I was charmed by the couple who were unaware my presence. Then, without warning, I began to feel very melancholy. A young man once stole a car to see me. Another would hitchhike from Canada to New York City. A man once threatened to throw acid in my face if I didn’t marry him. I’ve known plenty of passion from men, but never tenderness.