Subway to the Ocean

When you think of New York City, you don’t think of the beach. Tall buildings, taxis, shows, hustle and money and fancy clothes and cuisine, day and night. People from everywhere, walking this way and that, fast.

It’s the city that never sleeps, though it does, in a way that only New York City can, on a moving subway car to the end of the line because you slumbered right past your stop.

Think of it as a dream. This is a city surrounded by water, after all. You wake up early. Let’s not make this about summer. No beach towels and coolers are involved. There’s a snowstorm about to land, so you put on long underwear, wool socks, jeans, a sweater, heavy coat and hat. You lace up your boots with an extra tug.

You leave your apartment and head to the subway. It’s a weekend. The subways are all fucked up. You listen to announcements over muffled speakers and ask, “What did she just say?” Actually, there were no announcements. You just imagined that. No one was saying anything.

Finally, the subway arrives. You hop on and sit down. It’s a mostly empty car, and you embrace the comfort of that, not unlike climbing into bed after a long day and pulling the covers over your shoulder tight.

It is a long ride. You are not even halfway there.

You pulled out a book awhile ago but haven’t read a word. You keep holding on, though, in case you change your mind. Your thoughts are with your eyes, staring out the window, which is able to see out and over distant neighborhoods. You are on the outskirts of the city.

A crazy person gets on the train at a stop you’ve never noticed before, and will likely never get on or off the subway, ever. He’s not yet saying anything, except with his bleary, busted, watery eyes. You look away. He starts to shout. Crazy talk, you understand nothing, other than yes, this person is crazy. You tune him out. He is not there.

Was he ever there? Have you been staring out the window this whole time? You don’t remember seeing anything at all. The book is still in your hands, unopened.
Finally, your stop. You get off the train. You adjust your hat down, rework your scarf, and bring the coat in closer.

The snow began, and it has fallen hard. But it’s a short walk.

In no time at all, you have arrived, and are welcomed by crashing waves, which are just for you. No one else is there.

— Jeffrey Yamaguchi

Traverse to water
chasing turmoil to the crest
welcomed by wave crash