Today, I witnessed a guy get stuck between the train doors on the way home. They closed smack dab in the middle of his body – right from his widow’s peak to the space between his legs.
It was a rainy evening at Gil Puyat station. My shoes were soaked in mud, and my umbrella was dripping irregular patterns on the platform. A train full of strangers arrived.
I let people pass me to rush into the train. They easily fill the unoccupied spaces of the train. I am reminded of pouring water into a glass of ice.
The warning buzzer started to ring. From the corner of my eye, I saw a guy, no taller than me, rushing to the closing doors in front of me. His orange shoes became a blur. But he was too late – the doors closed before he arrived, and he didn’t make it. He stood beside me on the platform with a disappointed sigh.
But then, the doors parted, opening the train once again.
There was a split second where he seemed to think, “Should I go in? Should I stay – what should I do? DoItakethistrainorshouldIwaitforanotheronewhatdoIdowhatdoIdo?”
In those seconds he chose to think, the doors started to close.
In those seconds, he decided to go for it.
He took fast, tiny steps to the train and jumped right in. For some reason, he looked back at me – probably to avoid the stares of the passengers inside. I’d choose to look at me as well if I were him. One weird stare was better than a car-load of them.
And so, there he was. There I was. There we were – stuck in the moment for the universe to witness.
There were a solid five seconds of silence before he did a little wiggle. This little wiggle got him through the doors. He fixed his white shirt as if nothing happened before the doors closed and they were off.
The moment was gone – but something stayed with me.
I’ve been stuck between train doors before – but that’s not what I’m talking about. That incident got me thinking of the times I’ve decided last-minute that I want something, only to have the doors closed on my face.
I’m no wiggler. I’m not like that brave, valiant stranger who chose to take a risk by jumping between those metal contraptions. Every night, I choose to wait for an empty train to arrive at my station so I am guaranteed a seat.
I’ve wanted – still, want – to be a lawyer. But I always find myself facing trains full of people, with doors closing faster than I can decide whether I want to jump in or not. Sometimes, I wonder if I should just start to wiggle my way in and see where that leads me.
But, as the empty skip train halts before me, and I manage to take a seat, I realize that there will always be opportunities – opportunities to go home, chances to make our dreams come true.
So I choose to wait for a little longer. My train will come, eventually, with a seat guaranteed, hopefully just like my law degree.
In the end, we all get to go home. Whether it’s through a little wiggle between closing doors, or a little more patience at the station, we’ll arrive where we’re meant to be.