It’s 4 A.M. on a Friday morning, as I head to a very early job. The city, though quieter to be sure, is anything but asleep, especially where the trains are concerned.
As a true blue New Yorker, I’m not afraid of her. Like Isak Dinesen wrote about Africa…
‘How could you live in such wilderness, and be afraid of it.’
As I stand on the platform alone, I suddenly find myself flanked by two men, both subway workers. One seated in the booth when I entered, the other just coming on.
They were both Latino, around 40, pretending I wasn’t there.
What I notice right away, is how nicely their hair is combed, reminding me of my father who always kept a comb in his back pocket making sure his part was straight. They had self-worth, these men I guess is my point, in the dignified way they presented themselves.
After gazing up at the sign keeping you apprised of the next train expected, I look around and realize, only these two fellows, along with myself, were in the whole terminal, but then see, three kids down a ways, pacing like hungry cougar cubs.
Ah ha, thinks Alice, unaware of any rabbit hole, realizing, this is why I suddenly have two bodyguards trying to be subtle.
They were making sure I’d get on the train safely without suggesting otherwise.
I didn’t let on that I know, because for whatever reason, they didn’t wish me to, so I stand between them quietly, like a proper Lady-in-waiting.
When the number 6 pulls in, packed with the Changing of the Guard, what I call all-night men and women swapping shifts, as it leaves with me by the door, I smile and wave to my two knights, and for the very first time, allow our eyes to meet, gratitude shining in mine, nobleness in theirs…
chivalry not dead, just changing shifts.