Delores works at Yankee stadium.
She sat down next to me on the train during my ride home. She called across the aisle to another woman.
“I always wondered what happened to that man. What happened with his life.”
Delores was prepared for residual interest. As are most people who shout details across crowded trains, I assume.
So I just came out with it
“Oh we just met this man on the train last week.”
“Are you two friends?” I said, referring to the woman across the aisle.
“No she was just there with me and we both helped him out.”
I was hooked.
Delores and her not-quite-friend had A New York Moment. One of those situations that could only happen in the city.
I like to abuse that phrase. I find it funny. And wistful.
But it still holds water in most cases.
Delores and the woman have the same commute home at the end of the night and so found themselves sharing the situation together.
The woman remained silent during the entire conversation, seemingly acknowledging Delores’ ability to speak for the both of them.
“He was so drunk, this guy. 50-year-old guy. And he just opened up to us. He even had his arm around her. He was kissing her on the cheeks. She didn’t do nothing though ’cause she a church-going woman, that’s why. Both of us, you know, we knew he was drunk and had a problem so while, you know, most ladies would have screamed or chewed him out, we understood.”
He was a successful man, with a good job, a wife and kids. But he was miserable. And he drank. And his wife hated when he drank.
“White men, they drink to deal with their problems.”
She nodded to acknowledge that I was white.
“I see a lot of drunk white men trying to deal with their problems.”
Makes sense. She works at Yankee stadium. I had a feeling her tolerance for drunk white men had more to do with that than it did with Church.
She said that while the man was telling her all this she began to cry. She felt so bad for him. As he went on about all the things he hated about his life, she cried. All the way to the last stop on the train, where they lived. They knew he didn’t live there, so they put him back on the train and sent him on his way. And she wondered what happened to him. What happened with that man’s life.
“Oh I’ve got lots of those stories. I run into a lot of people like that and try to help them as much as I can, you know. Why, this one man… what’s your stop?”
“Oh this is your stop here, ok well take care now. Nice to meet you.”
I wanted to stay and hear more stories about the drunk white men she tries to help.
But I had to get home.
It was late, and I was a little drunk.