finding hope in a subway-riding, daughter-father duo

there was this man on the subway.
shaved hair, tattoos down his arm, neck, and leg. 
lean build, tall spine.

and his hand had a tiny little version in it.

that's right.

a little girl, her head barely reaching his hip,
clearly his daughter,
with long blonde hair and a pretty multicolored sundress.

they stepped on, and i started rethinking
the way i had been looking at life.

because the little girl started giggling wildly,
grin practically splitting her face in half,
and saying "I want mommy! I want mommy!"

so this man, he steadied her in the crowded subway car,
and sang her a few verses of something,
his voice sandy and normal.
she subsided for a moment.

when she started up again,
well, i've got to say that it was quite possibly
the smoothest winning of an argument
against a small child that i've ever seen.

and these two, god, they had hope.

this man was clearly divorced, 
and it was his turn to have his daughter -
that much was obvious from their chatting.

but they had so much hope.
so much chance to get it right. 

this man adored his daughter,
and she in turn. 

i had such a hard time with my dad
when i was younger. 

but this girl, well, 
i hope to whatever god is out there,

you make sure these two make it.
please, if you don't give this world anything else,
make sure these two make it. 

that's hope, right there. 

seeing two people and trying to 
comprehend why they had so much potential
when the people around me didn't.

the answer?

these people are set in stone.
they don't seem to hear this little girl and her dad's
laughter echo through the subway car,
they are gray and standing still
no matter how many stations they pass. 

these people are in a goldfish bowl,
an they're not getting out anytime soon. 

life is this...
maze, i suppose. 

every turn is an event.
every three-way split is a decision.

you can jump the gaps in the floor
or you can go backwards.

and, if you're lucky, 
you make your way out of it
and you find yourself in entirely new territory. 

it makes me wonder.
why are these two in the new area,
but these middle-aged women and 
businessmen are still stuck in place?

they're sitting here, stagnant, 
riding up and down elevators every day
to work that they don't like,
going home to kids that are hard to manage, 
riding the subway and staring out the window
to the gray-black cement wall.

our lives are not a subway line.
we don't just choose to get off at random stop,
that's not how it goes. 

these people have no hope.
they look at me and they look at my 
purple skirt and bulldog shirt,
and they only see themselves -
hard, tired, stone, stagnant.

god, even the kids these days.
so controlled, so scheduled, so modern -
all sleek metal and modern white,
they are not children, they are accessories.

the moment they're not pretty, new, and shiny anymore?
they get locked away in their rooms. 

so yeah, i hope to all hell
that these two manage to make it.

because that girl could be amazing one day,
and that man might learn something from his daughter. 

i wanna move. 
i'm cemented in place on this
dreary little streetcorner
in a city i don't like. 

i want to learn to move.
because these two, they're moving.
they're moving, and they have a chance,
they have hope.
and that is everything.

one day, i'm going to make sure
i am not in the goldfish bowl.
i am going to find a way to keep going,
to prevent myself from-

well, from going stagnant.
it's happened once.
over my dead body is it going to happen twice. 

The End

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