The Yellow Strip That Screams ‘Step Back’

By October 2, 2016October 17th, 2016Songs Of A Subway


He stood on the yellow strip that screams “step back!”, defying its warning.

It made me nervous.

His posture was confident. Well, cocky actually, as he leaned forward to peer down the tunnel, looking for the approaching train.

Why does someone do that? As if by looking it will make the train arrive any faster. Or like continuously pressing the button at a crosswalk as if repetitive button pushing will make the light turn green any faster.

There were only a few people on the platform and most simply ignored him. But I kept my eyes on him, fearful that he’d lose his balance or lean in just a bit too far. I know about the third rail.

He must have sensed something because he turned my way and our eyes locked for a moment. Flustered, I quickly looked away, busying myself with the latch on my briefcase. When I raised my eyes I saw him still looking at me, smiling smugly and inching a tiny step closer to the edge of the platform.

It was like a performance that I didn’t want a ticket to attend. We could hear the rumble of the approaching train, and others on the platform started moving closer to, but not onto the yellow line. I stood well back as I always do.

The train whooshed into the station and I saw the fellow take just the tiniest step back as the rush of hot, stale air announced the train’s arrival.

He glanced my way once more before stepping lazily onto the train.

I realized then I was shaking.

I waited for the next train.

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