Subway Thoughts: “I saw myself on the subway today.”

I saw myself on the subway today. This reflection of myself had brown hair, blue eyes, black tights, a light pea coat, and she was leaning against the door of our subway car as she pretended to read a book. She was approximately twenty feet away from me. The only difference between her and I, she must have been about seventy years old. She frequently peeked over her glasses while keeping her nose in a book, observing her fellow subway car passengers. The moment she walked into the car, pulled out her book, and looked up- an incredibly strange and lonely feeling washed over me. It was this frightening feeling that she was who I will be in the future. That soon it will be me all alone, standing in the corner of a subway car, pretending to read a book, concerned with what the passengers on my car thought of me. I was alarmed and my face must have shown it, because in that moment of thought she looked up again and made eye contact with me. Did she know what I was thinking? Did I remind her of who she was? Did she receive the jolt of regret over how she lived her life that I imagined she did? Or was she content with her life? Or was she overwhelmingly happy with it?  In that very instant we met eyes, I wondered what feeling she experienced from looking my way. What message did my face convey and what emotions did it cause? Still stuck in this same moment, I imagined myself less than fifty years from now- alone, standing in the corner of a subway car, pretending to read a book, concerned with what the passengers on my car thought of me- only then I will know precisely what she was thinking. When I look up and meet eyes with a young woman on her way home from school who reminds me of me, how will I feel about the life I lived?

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