Waiting for the A on 125th


The mother told her daughter to sit down. The woman that was already sitting next to her daughter got up before I could to offer her my seat. 

"Mommy body hurt from carryin' all'at, J.J." Her entire body seemed to exhale as she slowly squatted onto the seat. She secured her big, black duffle bag in between her feet, in the way that all New Yorkers do when putting their bags down in public places.  

The next uptown train is now arriving on the Express track. (The automated message spoke through the speakers of the station.)

"I hope it's the D train." The mother said. 

"Are we on the express side?" The little chocolate girl looked up and around to see the signs. Her pronunciation was proper and clean compared to her mother's thick and gritty Harlem accent. 

"Yea but..."

"So it will be the D silly!" She playfully said to her mom as she covered her wide, bashful smile after calling her mother silly. 

"I'm jus' so ti'yid.." She showed no emotion toward the girl's gleefulness. She was exhausted. 

"Well, when we get to Aunty Tracee's house, I'm going to rub your back." She placed her tiny little right hand on her mother's back and kept it there. 

"We not goin' to ya' Aunty Tracee's we goin' to Aunty Neicey's." 

"Oh yea!!" She giggled. "You know what I meant mommy." Her smile was contagious. 

It wasn't the D train. It was my train, the A. I couldn't get up and get on until I said something. I couldn't just watch this and not say something. I put my right hand on the little girl's shoulder to get her attention. 

"You keep being sweet, okay?" 

She looked me right in the eyes before saying, "Yeesss..." in a sort of melodic voice that children of that age use when saying yes to adults. 

The mother looked at me too. "Thank you.", she said, as I walked toward the hissing A train. 

"You're welcome, Queen." I bowed my head, honoring the mother. "You're doing a job well done. Much respect."