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  • A tall man got on the subway, he was about my age, but looked to be in his late 50s. He had grey hair, needed a shave around his whispy goatee but was otherwise strangely clean for someone who was fairly obviously an addict or “methodonian” (methodone addict in ‘chemical recovery’).

    Holding his hand was the most beautiful little girl. She looked to be about 5, and she looked around the train with a big smile and absolute wonder. She had a pink knit cap (though it was not cold or rainy) with two points in a kind of jester-like configuration, with two pom-poms. The hat almost covered her right eye and was high above her left ear which with her inquisitive look made her look that much sweeter; I wanted to straighten her hat so it wouldn’t fall off.

    Her face scanned from person to person smiling and making contact in a way that seemed inappropriate on the rush-hour-train. The absolute wonder on her face lit up the car and those who looked at her involuntarily smiled back in spite of the weight of their days. This marvel contrasted with the “game face” of her escort who seemed focused on some mission that lurked down the tunnel that would come. The corners of his mouth were drooping into what, in a more thoughtful man, might have been a sneer.

    But still they were there holding hands, and when a seat opened up at 33rd/Rawson he gently rushed her over to get it and doted on her until she was comfortable. It was then, when she had changed angles in getting the seat at the station I detrained at, that I saw that her eyes were way-far-apart. The hat, tipped just so, had covered the breadth of her downsey forehead. She is, as they say nowadays, a “special” child. By this I mean she is retarded, but what I really realize is that she is still traveling on the seven-train-in-my-head, looking at the world in that special way with a special wonder that I will continue to try to emulate (hopefully, as long as I live).

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