I take out my left earphone and listen to the song of the metro. The quiet hum of the train, the po-po softly snoring next to me, the local girl in her school uniform who didn’t bother muting her Candy Crush game. It’s a cramped car filled with hundreds of stories to share, but everyone is each to their own—like every other day. I close myself off from the world, sink into my music, and observe. Candy Crush girl is now quietly talking on her phone, a small jade dragon keychain swishing back and forth as she giggles. I look to a nanny, failing miserably in clinging onto a four-year-old boy. He’s the king of the world, jumping and whirling his action figures around, but little does he know of the evils in his kingdom. Or maybe he does. Food for thought as I skip a song for the third time.
I don’t know how long I’ve been sitting here, in this place of wonder. I have all these people around me, near me, but I don’t know them—and they don’t know me. It’s another way of being alone, but not completely alone.
I watch as a po-po walks in grimly, carrying a red plastic bag springing with leeks and bok-choy. I make eye contact with her, half-lift myself off the seat, and gesture for her to take my place. The po-po lifts her hand up, palm facing towards me, and lightly shakes her head. Then she cracks a smile to me, and her eyes, I swear, they twinkle. She gets off the next stop, and I never see her again. Thousands of people connected through a single factor: the commute from one place to another. That’s it. And I love that. None of us are going in the same direction, but we’re all somehow together. The train never tires its speed, but time is slow here, and for these couple minutes, you’re surrounded by people you’ll never meet and stories you’ll never hear.
Beep. I scan out of this temporary wonderland—for now, that is.