On Board #9

August 15, 2:12 p.m.

2 Train – Bergen St. to Clark St.

Two sets of single mothers sit with their children. One child is a boy, around 10 years old, and may be the most loving 10-year old boy this subway has ever seen. He says something to make his mother laugh – genuinely laugh – a laugh that forces her to turn the other way to avoid spitting in her son’s face. He forces his arm between the triangle formed by her forearm, bicep and torso, a toothless but improbably wide smile on his face. He caresses her arm, then pats her thigh, lightly. She explains something serious to him – one imagines it has to do with homework or his father or why it’s so hot on the subway or girls – and the boy’s eyes tighten, as if he wants nothing more than to understand.

Across the aisle, it’s a mother and grandmother who are in love. Not that the center of their attention, a 6-year old girl, isn’t in similar rapture, of course. She smiles and taps them on the shoulder and holds her mini purse in her lap just like her mother and grandmother clutch there’s. But it’s clear that the women are the ones satisfied, enthralled, in love with the abnormally happy creature they’ve got on their hands.

The project, explained.

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