A few years ago I went to see Inside Llewyn Davis at a movie theatre in lower Manhattan. What I thought was truly amazing about the movie was that a hundred people could watch it and every single person would have seen a different movie.
After, I was waiting on the subway platform for few minutes when I made eye contact with a pretty girl with long brown hair. She came up to me and asked me how long I had been waiting for the train. “Not long,” I said. Normally, that would be the end of the conversation. I don’t like talking to strangers. I find it stressful and terrifying. But for some reason, I kept the conversation going. I asked her where she was going. “Penn Station,” she said.
Our train rolled up and we kept talking. I asked her what brought her to Union Square. She told me she worked for a non-profit and they just had a party for all of their donors. And then we talked about nothing for a while. The movie I just saw, the density of the 1 line, why Times Square is just the worst.
Her stop was before mine. She thanked me for the conversation and left. I never do this, but as the train doors were closing, I jumped out and ran after her. I didn’t know what I wanted to say.
She was running to catch a train, and even with the way my feet are, I knew I could catch up. I didn’t even know what I was going to say. Maybe just, “I liked talking to you. What’s your name? I want to talk to you again.” That isn’t much, but it is how I felt and I would accept whatever reaction I got.
But then I stopped. Just for a moment. I wondered how long I could follow her before romantic became creepy. I decided to just go for it because I knew I would not be any worse off by taking this risk. But by the time I made the decision, I couldn’t see her anymore. She was lost in the crowd and nothing I could do would change that.
I got back inside the Subway and there was a busker on the platform, a person playing an acoustic instrument. I listened for a while. My train rolled up and I boarded it. It may sound strange, and maybe a little obsessive, but it felt lonelier.
Anyway, here are more stories like that one.