August 13, 6:59 p.m.
N Train – Times Square to Pacific St.
There is suddenly an orchestra of noise, with voices like none this reporter has heard on a subway train. Three pairs of teens, all girls, all, remarkably, wearing black pants, are talking intimately. The pairs don’t appear to know each other. A 30-year old in a royal blue polo talks to his seated wife, who holds her index and middle fingers angled over her mouth in a look that suggests shock, contemplation, boredom and concern all at once. She moves her hand to her left ear where she mindlessly rotates her diamond earring in what is, now, unmistakably boredom. She has not responded to her husband in the five minutes he has been talking.
An Asian mother talks to her two teenage girls. A woman gives her child instructions in velcroing her shoes, while showing her how. A trio of 25-year old women trade stories, all wearing smiles.
As the train approaches Atlantic the wife appears to offer an indecipherable phrase. She sits, and he stands, in silence.