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The Woman With The Red Hair - A Subway Story
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The Woman With The Red Hair  -  A Subway Story

Got on the New York subway the other day after a hard days work. As soon as the doors opened, I was one of those rushing to find an empty seat. I just beat a huge man to a spot who was wearing a snug grey suit that was cut to high above the ankles. He looked at me and let out a sigh. I didn't really care. I thought to myself, "he wouldn't have fit into the small space anyway."

As the doors closed, I hoped this would be a nice peaceful ride to my designated stop. No one going through the car begging for spare change. No boombox blasting with a group of teenagers dancing and tumbling up and down the aisle. No self anointed prophet preaching the antichrist had arrived and he was either Barack Obama or Oprah Winfrey. I just wanted a peaceful ride.

As the train began to pull away from the station, I looked up and down the car for any indication of a disruption. I've learned to spot those on the car who were waiting for everyone to get settled and the train to move before they began their pitch. It usually started with, "Good evening, ladies and gentleman. My name is such and such and so sorry to disturb your ride." Then the rest of the spiel. I've always thought, "if your sorry to interrupt our ride, then why start speaking in the first place."

But not this evening. Everyone on the car seemed exhausted and just wanted to go home. So, I relaxed. Put the headphones to my mp3 player on and pressed play. I had Chicago's, Your The Inspiration queued for such an occasion.

As the intro followed by the gentle and passionate lyrics began, I closed my eyes. "You know this love was meant to be. The kind of love that lasts forever. And I want you here with me. From tonight until the end of time."

Feeling the groove, I opened my eyes for a release. Like taking a sip of my favorite red wine and waiting awhile to savor the impression before taking another.

As I gazed down the car, I noticed the other passengers looking in my direction. "Was I that obvious?" I thought to myself. No, they're not looking at me. They're noticing something else. So, I followed their gaze.

It led me to a woman sitting directly across from me. A red headed woman. She's sitting next to another woman intensely going off about something. It appears that she's speaking loud, but I can't tell because of the music in my ears. So, I press mute on my mp3 player and focus on the Woman with the Red Hair.

I was surprised to discover that she isn't talking loudly at all. But an intense whisper. The woman next to her is just smiling and nodding her head in agreement. "Is this a friend of her's?" I couldn't hear what she was saying, just a word or two here and there. But I noticed her. Her complete outer/inner being in that moment.

I noticed her red curly locks dangling and dancing with each expression of indignation. The silk red scar draped around her shoulders. Her dress background in a soft white with colorful stripes leading down to her toeless black pumps.

And how each of her beautiful toes rhythmical danced and played in the insoles of her shoes like the dramatic movement of a piano concerto.

Suddenly, she went quiet. Looked around to see if anyone was watching her. Everyone watching, including me, diverted their gaze. Then the Woman with the Red Hair turned back to her friend and continued her impassioned discourse.

The train stops. The doors open. The Woman and her friend stand and begin to exit. Almost in slow motion, her red scarf falls to the floor right in front of me. I pick it up. Just as she's about to pass the open doors, I say, "Excuse me." She turns and looks at me. "You dropped your scarf." She returns to me. Smiles widely enough to see the wonderful small gap in her two front teeth. She takes the scarf out of my hand. I accidentally press the unmute button on my mp3 player.

As the sweet sounds of Chicago fill my head again, the Woman with the Red Hair says something to me. She then turns and exits the train.

I didn't hear it because of the music. I think she said, "Thank you." Or was it, "I love you." Or maybe she said, "Wanna have you near me, Wanna have you near me sayin', no one needs you more than I need you." Yeah, that sounds right. That's what the Woman with the Red Hair said to me.

I haven't seen her since. But I will never forget my encounter with the Woman with the Red Hair and how she professed her love for me on the New York Subway.


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