Something really nice happened.
Much like many New York residents who ride the subway to work (particularly the jam-packed 1 train), I spend the majority of my morning commute fending for my personal space, which requires me to push, nudge, duck, slither, crouch, wriggle, clamber, and in the case of the missing or inactive train, run.
This can make it quite difficult to read for periods longer than three-minute intervals, unless I find myself wedged in a corner that allows me few interruptions from my book. This morning I found such a corner, and was tearing through the last few chapters of Jhumpa Lahiri's The Lowland, when a woman tapped me on the shoulder. Without saying a word, she pulled something from her bag. It was her own copy of The Lowland, which she tapped lightly to mine, hardcover spine to hardcover spine, as if we were clinking champagne glasses at a party. "Cheers," she said. I smiled.
I didn't get her name or her profession or any details whatsoever about her life. We didn't even ask how the other liked the book. This woman is completely unknown to me, except for as a fellow reader. And I thought, how nice it is to be having this moment with a stranger. With all the people coming and going, stuffing themselves through the closing doors, piling on top of each other, coughing, adjusting their bags, removing scarves, I was able to spend my twenty-minute ride downtown face to face with another person, sharing the experience of silently reading the same book. Ah, New York.