Monday, June 30, 2008

Then Put Your Little Hand In Mind

Sweltering in the heat underground allows me a certain comfort, a calmness of my muscles and body that often escapes me in the distracting and over-stimulating streets above. Waiting for the train in weather like this reminds me of the heat in the Dominican Republic in the high season that many describe as oppressive, though more accurately might be described as soothing and pleasurable.

The downtown D train downtown barreled into the station at 145th, blowing a welcome breeze upon all who are standing on the platform awaiting its arrival. The doors slide open and I take my seat between a woman and her young son, an even smaller child in her arms. Always inquisitive and alert as children tend to be, the baby turned her head to observe my face as I sat next to her, a smile filling my face. Continuing to maintain contact with my eyes as we passed 125th, and then 59th St., she reached a small hand out towards me, and I extended her my finger. She wrapped her fingers around my index finger, holding onto it with such intent.

Finished staring at me, she became tired and rested her head into her mother's chest, her eyes slowly closing, closing, closing, closed; her hand losing grip of my finger. As gravity pulled her arm and hand limp, she was reawakened, and re-extended her hand towards my arm, resting her little hand there.

Her mother and I spoke, and Claradine informed me she was on her way to church. She invited me to attend services with herself, her son, the baby, and her sister who was also present, offering to have me accompany them this evening. Declining, Claradine gave me her phone number, and I made plans to attend service with them later that week, as she informed me they attend service every Wed., Fri., Sat., and Sunday in Washington Heights.

Claradine shifted the babies weight, and her little hand fell from my arm. The child looked up and sounded her displeasure, "mmmm!" and re-shifted her body back, resting her head into her mothers chest, and again extending her arm and hand out towards my arm, reaching until her little hand once again was resting on my arm, looking up at me briefly for another moment before she once again closed her eyes and went to sleep.