Subway Stories



The woman with the cherubic face prays fervently. I am not well versed enough to know if she is Igbo or Yoruba, but she channels the spirit of her home into these supplications. It is 8:37 in the morning, and the train is full of people at the beginning of days they do not look forward to. It is crowded. They are tired. And these are often the last moments of respite prior to an inundation of emails and feigned productivity.


With every inflection, her captive audience glances at her wearily as she fills the car with her pleas. She thinks of all of these souls, yet she does not look at their bodies. Her eyes are closed, and a single rivulet of sweat creeps down her brow. Drops as of blood. A young man next to her stares angrily, visibly adjusting his headphones. He is listening to Nas, Thief's Theme.


She is unmoved. She prays for him. She prays for all of them. She prays for those on their way to work. In Jesus name. She prays for the fruit of their labor. In Jesus name. She prays for their families and the ones left behind. In Jesus name. She prays for the strength of all the passengers. In Jesus name.


When she says her last of many Amen's, she thanks the car for the opportunity, as if she had received their blessing. She sits down, and the car breathes a sigh of relief. They can now resume their podcasts, their games, their travel to jobs. The faces return to disinterest.


She however, is the only only who has already done her work. She, is beaming.