I shoved my way down the escalators, a flurry of elbows and knees and people telling me to "watch where you're going." I heard the subway pulling into the station as I slammed myself thigh-first into the turnstiles.
"Would you like to take a moment to look over some of these goods? They're a fair price, good quali—"
I knocked the guy out of my way. I couldn't miss this train.
I didn't know he was selling those quilted blankets to pay for his mother's memorial service.
His box slammed to the ground, then my feet were slamming too.
Slamming, slamming, slamming against the cement floor as I rushed to the platform. 1, 2, 3, 4—there it was!
The doors were closing, drawing shut, but—
My hand was in the way.
"Sorry," I mumbled as I shoved myself into the already over-full car. I wasn't.
All around me, people grumbled and sighed and rolled their eyes.
I grumbled and sighed and rolled my eyes along with them.
Somewhere in the back, a baby started wailing.
I glared at the little thing, all swaddled in blue. Then I glared at its mother, because she wasn't stopping it quickly enough.
I didn't know it had colic.
I yanked my phone from my pocket, attempting to look like I was horribly busy replying to a very important email that could not wait.
I was actually playing Angry Birds.
Beside me, an old man let loose a great, rattling, wet cough.
Around him, people shifted away, varying degrees of disgust playing across their faces. As one, those of us surrounding him set about oh-so-subtly rearranging ourselves so that those who hadn't yet realized the man's danger could sit next to him.
What I didn't know was that the man had stage four lung cancer and was completely non-contagious. I didn't know he was on the way to the hospital to be admitted for end-of-life care.
I scored a 1460 during my next round of Angry Birds. Then a 2350 when I replayed the level. I still didn't get the third star though. I hit replay again.
The subway came to a screeching halt as it came into the next station. The old man and the mother got off along with some others, only to be replaced by a flood of people twice as large.
A middle-aged woman made a beeline for my pole and grabbed it between both hands, knuckles white as they locked into a death-grip. Her left foot was placed squarely on my right as she planted her feet shoulder width apart.
I gritted my teeth. "Those are Gucci," I spat.
The woman didn't react.
The subway took off.
I yanked my foot out from under hers, causing her to topple precariously.
She let out a shriek of surprise as she struggled to stay upright.
This time, I didn't react; I just went back to throwing birds at pigs.
I didn't know this woman was severely claustrophobic. I didn't know how much of an achievement it was for her to be on this subway at all.
I finally got the third and final star. Level 16-B, here I come.
At the front of the car, I heard a young girl—maybe two or three—say, "I want to show the train to Tony when he gets back!"
Her parents promptly burst into tears.
Three people shushed them, and an uncountable number glared at them. I was one of the shushers.
None of us noticed their black clothes or the mother's veil.
I didn't know they were on their way to the church to say a final goodbye to their oldest son—Tony.
The next stop was mine, and I shoved my way out the door in much the same fashion I'd shoved my way in. I didn't even stop to think about the man I elbowed in the stomach; I didn't know he had one-hundred-seventeen stitches there, holding the slit in his abdomen closed. I didn't know he'd received that slit as a result of a hate crime. Or that it was the third one he'd had.
I didn't know that the teenaged girl I cut in front of at the turnstiles was only moving so slowly because she had a prosthetic leg and couldn't move any faster.
I didn't know that the woman who grabbed me on the street only grabbed me because she was searching for her daughter—who looked just like me.
I didn't know that the guy I flipped the bird to for stepping on my heels was blind. I didn't know that because I didn't turn around.
I didn't know the rest because I didn't care.