I once lost a staring contest with a guy across the platform while we were both waiting, impatiently, for the 6 train to come.
He smiled at me first.
For all I know, he had no idea we were playing any sort of game. For all I know, he thought I was just looking at him funny because his zipper may have been down or toilet paper may have latched on to the worn out soles of his suede loafers.
It was 10:40 pm on one of those breezy nights in the city, where the temperature is just beginning to flirt with the winter chills and you can still get away with shorts and a long sleeve shirt.
If the guy was to shout across the trenches of the dark subway platform, “Hey You! Why are you looking at me?” I wouldn’t have any good reason to shout back. My face would become flushed and my feet would shuffle around like I was trying to dance the tango by myself.
But he didn’t say anything.
I didn’t know his name or where he was going or what he did minutes or years before this very moment. But for three minutes, we were part of each other’s lives. We were the grounding force that made waiting for the stubborn 6 train to arrive so incredibly bearable.