June 15, 9:55 a.m.
Q Train – 7th Avenue to Times Square
There’s a baby being changed: orange diaper, pink pants, green blouse. Let’s call her Sally. She’s producing a horrifying sound – like the screeching of the subway brakes disharmonizing with a dying animal.
Mom’s face does not change throughout the dirty process: she does not want to be doing this here, on the subway, but she must. No one gets off to board another car, though they could.
The deed done, she bounces Sally on her lap, then holds her over her left shoulder, patting her back all along. The crying finally stops; a pacifier is the solution. Now that the child has calmed, down the mother cannot take her eyes off Sally. For a few moments, the faintest of smiles crosses her lips.