Some days you wake up and get on the subway already angry with the world. You are tired from a long week/weekend/day/night so you get on and you are already done with everyone around you. You look at a rabbi sitting down reading the Torah, flanked by a black woman and a hispanic woman and try to see the beauty in it, but can only scrape up apathy. Your oppression and privilege stare at you from every direction. You think about how, because you are white, no one would dare reach out and touch your hair without permission, but you can see three women in your immediate vicinity who have probably had their hair touched by someone they do not know and did not ask to do so. You see the young black boy look at you and you know that one word from you, as a white woman – the pure, paragon of society that needs to be protected – he could be jailed or killed. You hear a young, white man swearing at his mother, high on his own hormones and self-righteousness, and the anger is a tight, tight knot in your chest. The fucker didn’t even have the courtesy to take off his backpack so he’s taking up enough space for three people while he gets up in his mother’s face before it’s even eight in the morning.
It’s these days when you consider never having children, disappearing off into the woods, and never speaking to another human being ever again.
And then, after the asshole white boy has left, after the whole train has breathed a sigh of relief, after another station passes and the tired, slumped-shouldered woman sits down next to another woman, there is a glimmer of light. The other woman reaches out and tells her that everything is going to be okay, that she did the right thing, and that he’ll be okay. The mother’s whole body releases its tension and her hand gestures are confused and frustrated, while the other woman is supportive with good humor.
“I am going to have a good day now, thanks to you.” The mother says, patting the other woman’s leg. “Thank you.”
Some days, you see the good side of humanity and it can, for a short while, negate the bad.