I jump onto the train but as the doors close, I realize it’s not the one I need. Looking at my phone to re-arrange my route, my eye catches this kid in a hoodie playing with a Rubik’s Cube. I watch as the kid turns the sides around, over and over, clicking and clacking, and boom, gets all the colours aligned! I look around to see if anyone else saw, but it’s just me with my jaw on the ground.
Kid hands the cube back to the woman sitting next to him, and she re-configures it, eyes cast towards the ceiling, as if her mind is far away.
I watch again in awe, as the kid turns the sides over and over, clicking and clacking. This time the sound of fingers working quickly and deftly has attracted the attention of more eyes, and then, boom! Kid gets it again! Those of us who witnessed it, look at each other in delight.
Kid hands the cube back to the woman and she mixes the colours back up again, eyes once again cast towards the ceiling. “This is better than show-time,” I say out loud. To which this guy with his pants half-hanging down his body replies: “I’m about to take the cap around for this kid.”
Going for a third time, the kid clicks and clacks the cube, this time all eyes in the train are on him. Boom! He does it once more! We all cheer! And clap! And hurrah! And the kid gets a fright and looks up, as the hood slips to reveal a face and I realize he’s a SHE (I shoulda known!)
An elderly lady hands her a dollar bill. “I could only ever get two sides right,” she says. “Well done to you, young lady.” And then someone says: “Merry Christmas!” and another chimes in, “yeah, Happy Holidays!”
I smile and high five the kid as I get off to go catch the right train. Walking into it feeling all warm and fuzzy, I’m hit by the smell of urine and there are fries smashed all over the floor.
Oh, New York City, this love only deeper grows.