The other day I went into Manhattan to have a meeting with Commercial Agents. After I left the meeting I walked to the subway to make my way home. As I walked through the streets I mentally kicked myself for not doing this or that in the reading, but all in all I wasn't unhappy about the experience.
My mind was wandering as I entered the Subway station on 50th Street and 6th Avenue. As I started down the steps I heard the train roaring into the station and I began to walk faster. The trains have been running so infrequently that I didn't want to miss one and stand on the platform forever waiting for the next one. All I can remember after taking the first three or four steps was my body suddenly falling, throwing me sideways on to the steps, my free hand trying desperately to grab the banister as my body bounced from step to step, and on each step hearing the sound of the back of my head hitting the step with tremendous force. I thought to myself "I'm going to die. I'm going to die like Natasha Richardson." Nothing I tried would stop the fall. It seemed like forever until it ended and I lay at the bottom of the staircase. In a flash I remembered when I had fallen down a flight of steps as a little girl of five. At that time when I had opened my eyes, my daddy was there to pick me up and hold me in his arms until I could catch my breath and cry. This time there was no one who loved me to pick me up and hold me, and let me cry. This time the only thing I knew for sure was that I was still alive. I lay there for a few moments and looked around. I felt a pain on the top of my head and I could barely catch my breath, but nothing else seemed to hurt. I found a crowd of people staring at me in horror. Out of this crowd a tired stranger, whose eyes were filled with deep concern, helped me to sit up on the final step that I had landed on. In broken English he offered to call for more help. I implored him not to. I told him I didn't want to go to a hospital. I didn't want anyone to make a fuss. My head ached and I wanted to cry. I just wanted to go home. A dear sweet lady joined him in his concern. She held my hand and wiped my forehead. Neither one of them could believe I was still alive. Another train came and went, and they stayed with me as I tried to regain some strength. Suddenly I heard someone say my name. I looked up into a concerned face of a young man who works in a local Beauty Salon in my neighborhood. He sat down on the step next to me and asked my two new friends what had happened. They explained as best as they could what they had witnessed. "I want to go home," I pleaded. And so when the next train began pulling into the station they helped me up.
As we were about to board the train, two people who had been standing as observers to my trip down the stairs now raced ahead of us into the car and rushed to the only empty seats on the train and sat down. My new friends walked me to those seats believing that all people are like them, kind and caring and they would certainly let me sit down. It didn't happen. I tell you this part not to criticize but because this is real life, and life and people are not all perfect. I didn't get either of their seats. They pretended they never had seen us before. However, my two beautiful strangers would not rest until they got me seated and they did. I'll never know their names, but I will always remember their faces and their kindness. The beauty of them has become a part of me. The young man from the beauty salon took me to my home. When I finally closed the door to my apartment I sat down on the floor and cried like the little girl I once was wishing my daddy could be there to hold me in his arms.
Oh, for your information, the young man went to a great deal of effort to get my phone number and call me the next day to make sure I was okay. And at the insistence of my children who think their mother is certifiable for not going to the emergency ward, I went to the doctor the next day. Amazingly all I got physically out of this was a big bump on the head, a gash on the top of my head and aches and pains. Not a broken bone on this 100-pound old lady. Mostly I got my love for people whose names I don't even know. My doctor thinks I'm the Bionic Woman. I think I'm just the luckiest woman alive.
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