Love across the Ages...in a subway car.
As soon as the subway door chimes rang, I heard the old man's walker clink as he hobbled towards the closing doors. This race to squeeze oneself through the last sliver of doorway is an everyday occurrence in Toronto underground life and I have been a witness to it countless times.
I understand the mental space of those few seconds. The door chimes seem to shut down the rational part of one's brain that would say, "Let this one go. The next one comes in less than five minutes." There's also a lot to be said for the bloodrush - the victorious,rebellious bloodrush that one feels when they have managed to defy the warning of those annoying subway door chimes.
On my way back from yoga class today, I saw the old man tunnel-vision and focus on the doors, so determined to make it into the subway car I was sitting in. I've never seen anyone who uses a walker move so gracefully. Just as the doors were moving past the point-of-no-return, he lept....and got stuck in the door.
He gasped as the doors attempted to shut and then conceded ....sliding open. He hobbled victoriously into the subway car and sat down, exhausted. He touched his left forearm and I noticed a translucent red tinge on his right fingertips. The door had split his delicate skin open and while the cut was not deep, blood was beginning to slither down his arm.
I was searching through my bag for a tissue, when I was startled by a loud *BANG*. Some kid had dropped his skateboard to the ground. The kid kneeled down on his scabbed knee, dug through his backpack and pulled out a band-aid.
He handed it to the old man, who put it on and gave him a thumbs up. I smiled at the young man. I looked around and noticed other people were watching this simple, powerful act of kindness. It filled our dingy subway car with such a beautiful light.
These are the moments I will carry with me when I look back at my life in Toronto. There is so much to be said for compassion....and even more to be said about the nobility behind the simplest actions.
It's contagious, this kindness.