I jumped onto the metro quickly, not taking note of those around me. I quickly swung my backpack around to my stomach and sat on one of the theatre chairs of the middle aisle. In my hurry, I failed to notice there were fewer passengers on this car than others. Within seconds I heard him screaming.
His voice full, decorating the room like some 7th century mead hall. In my periphery I could see his coatrack of a body holding other peoples' clothes between the bench seats of the metro car. I couldn't understand what he was saying, but from the grumbling of other passengers and the clutching of purses, I assumed he wanted money.
He approached an older girl beside me, not more than 18. When begged, she non-chalantly put apologies in his cup, she looked calm but reserved as the sides of her bob haircut crawled around her high cheek bones.
As the man continued yelling, I looked again at the young girl, whose head was in her left hand. Inside her palm she was shivering. I couldn't help but be moved at how this young woman was so emotionally delicate that even the presence of a human on the brink of despair could bring her to almost uncontolable sobbing. I thought surely I had never seen compassion like that before, and would not soon see it again.
As the metro met my stop, I rose to meet friends for dinner. As I walked past the girl she lowered the mask of her hand. Behind it, there were no tears. She had been laughing. Laughing so hard she hid herself.
I ate in silence.