She Tells A Story About Each Person On This Subway Train. Everyone In America Needs To Read This

November 13, 2016

Being in New York City during a time when our country is at such unrest, I was anxious at first about what I might feel or experience. Would we run into a protest? Would we witness violence? Would we, as white people, feel the understandable frustration from African Americans?

Sitting on the subway yesterday, I took notice that I could not possibly be in a place more diverse than this particular car and in such a tightly-knit way. All of us in a small space and in the same time, close enough to touch, and heading in the same direction. I began to look around at all the different ethnicities, races, ages, etc., and I quickly began to look for the nuances that made us the same. I began to mentally describe them, not by a physical characteristic-but instead-by a common characteristic. I then began to imagine him/her having, inside, every experience and feeling that I have felt or experienced. In that moment, I focused on a unity among the diversity. These human beings I will never see again will never know that as I looked at each of them, this is what I thought:

we are the same woman on subway NYC
Photo: Audrey Fox

To the one who walks with a cane:

I bet you have heard the news of a new baby, and you wanted to shout the news from the rooftop.

Me too; we are the same.

To the one reading:

I bet you have lived the sadness of attending the funeral of a family member, and it made your heart hurt more than anyone could ever imagine.

Me too; we are the same.

To the one listening to headphones:

I bet you love your birthday, and you look forward to the fun things you can do with your friends and family on that day.

Me too; we are the same.

To the one who could be my grandparent:

I bet you look back on your life and see times when things were hard, and you are proud of yourself for getting through it.

Me too; we are the same.

To the one who could be my child:

I bet the world seems so big, and you wonder sometimes what your place in it will be.

Me too; we are the same.

To the one with glasses:

I bet you love someone who is black, someone who is white, someone who is gay, someone who is autistic, someone who is athletic, someone who is addicted, someone who...

Me too; we are the same.

To the one on the phone:

I bet you have waited for a phone call from someone who made you smitten or waited for the phone call to let you know someone was okay.

Me too; we are the same.

To the one with luggage:

I bet you have cried from hurt feelings, have shook with anger, have given up on something, have fought hard to obtain something, have been embarrassed, and have shrieked in fear.

Me too; we are the same.

To the one who sleeps:

I bet you, more than anything else, just want to love and be loved, to be accepted for who you are, to fit in, to not be isolated, to laugh, to smile, to do a good job, to have your life mean something, to be wrapped in the warmth of family.

Me too; we are the same.

The person wearing glasses was a different race than the person who read a book. The woman on the phone different from the man who slept. I did not identify any of the people by anything cultural, because what united us in that moment wasn't cultural; it was human.

We have more in common than we have differences.

We are the same.

Written by Audrey Fox.

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