I'm constantly breaking the unspoken rule of not speaking and making eye contact with anyone on the subways.
This morning, an elderly lady sat across from me, her three shopping bags nestled on the seats beside her. Each time the train stopped, her bags slipped down the seats and she had to scramble to grab on to them, to keep them from hitting the person a few seats over.
I tried not to giggle out loud, but she was so cute in her predicament. She heard me laugh and looked up and at this point, it could have gone two ways:
1. She scowls at me, asks me what the $&^#) my problem is, picks up her bags and moves to a different part of the train;
2. She smiles sweetly, opens one of her bags and pulls out a container of pastries and offers me one.
To my delight, she smiled sweetly and shared her fluffy, buttery, calorie-filled delights.
We didn't speak, just smiled at one another in between bites of the tasty morsels, wiping the icing sugar from our black jackets.
I finished, sipped some water, and sat back as the fat hit my bloodstream and made a big beeline for the upper part of my right leg's inner thigh.
I watched her, as she ate tiny morsels, smiled a large toothy grin, wiped away crumbs and emptied container after container of sweets.
The woman sitting next to me commented that the woman was going to choke or get fat or both, but I ignored her nasty comment, thinking that her opinion labels her as anorexic or bulimic, but either way, an unhappy women jealous of this stranger's childlike and so open delight.
I found myself having several simultaneous reactions to her open, childish enjoyment. I wondered if she was starved for nourishment other than for the body. If she was in a bad marriage, had lost a loved one, had children who no longer spoke to her, was suffering financial hardship... Then I wondered if perhaps she herself was perhaps bulimic or anorexic or a binge eater. Then I stopped trying to figure her story out and just sat back, returning her quiet smiles with smiles of my own, and taking in the giddiness of her features, light blue eyes twinkling, icing sugar and crumbs gathering in her lap.
When my stop came, I stood up and waved goodbye to her. She handed me the last puff pastry in a tray of eleven empty spaces. How could I refuse? With the sweet treat in my hand, I literally skip home, her childlike enthusiasm and innocence awakening my own inner child and reminding me to spend more time feasting on the delights that surround me.