I was coming back from a job during rush hour on the L train, a line I never take.
There I was, squashed, in-between a woman with 8 shopping bags, and a young kid whose backpack was practically smothering me.
My mind began to drift, becoming slightly disoriented, causing me to lose my balance.
Suddenly, a HUGE hand grabs me by the arm.
A man, taking up 3 seats, keeps me from falling. He was like a black Jabba the Hutt, with a child’s face…cream-colored, unlined…a tiny, turned-up nose, the only thing small gracing him.
People were giving him dirty looks because of the amount of space he was taking up, but hey, would it have been better to have him standing in the aisle? He was like a small building in a field jacket.
New Yorkers quite often, especially when they’re tired, have no empathy for their fellow man. I know all about this, since me and my lost ears are often at the mercy of the dispassionate.
But when this man moved over so I could sit, one had to smile.
The lady with the shopping bags rolled her eyes. “You’re the only one who could fit there,” she said, shaking her head.
“Hey, don’t blame her cause she’s nice and slim,” said the Fat Man, “I was that way once too.”
Shopping Bags laughed. “Oh yeah, when?”
“I wasn’t always this size…believe it or not.”
In the meantime, I’m stiffly sitting between him and another guy like a stalk of corn sticking straight up, listening, wishing I could just stand, but didn’t want to seem rude.
“Well, I don’t believe it, but that’s how I am. Seeing is believing, and you are a very large man.”
“Okay, that’s enough,” I said. “He has nice manners and that should be the end of it.”
“What, you his lawyer now?”
“You know lady, I had a really shitty day and I think you should just shut-up.”
“Oh you do.”
“I think you should too,” said another woman who had been listening. “This man’s size is none of anyone’s concern. And she’s right. He’s been nothing but polite.”
That shut Shopping Bags up, and made Backpack give her a dirty look.
NEXT STOP UNION SQUARE
I smile at the Fat Man who smiles back and says,” Now don’t go fallin, cause I’m not gonna be there to catcha.”
All I know is, I won’t forget his sweet, kind face the width of the moon, with hands…
helping hands…like catcher’s mitts.