Falling in love with a boy is ten times easier when a mariachi band shows up in your subway car to provide background music.
Yes, that is right, I fell in love the other day.
To be completely honest, I am waiting for Apple to come knocking on my door asking me to be the spokes girl for the G4 Christmas commercial. I was totally the girl in a snappy red coat and snow cap, waiting for the four train. iPod plugged into David Gray. Ready to leave good ol' Manhattan for a pair of warm wool socks and hot chocolate at home.
But as visions of a warm mug danced in my head, he showed up next to me.
I looked over. He glanced over. Our eyes met and then there it was. Two Brilliant Smiles.
Caution: Be wary of watching that ridiculous commercial where the boy changes his train ticket right quick to slide next to the girl who will one day be his wife. You know the one where they grow old together and have these beautiful remarkable Nobel Prize-Winning children. Just be careful of that or suck in your bottom lip when your Subway Lover does not pin his number to the window as you step onto the platform.
But back to the Love of my Commute: I had to resist the urge to scoot closer to him, compliment his Mets hat and then say, "Did you know that you have the warmest face in New York City?" Of course I didn't say that. Friends, I am not that crazy.
He was wearing dirty jeans, a T-shirt coated in soot beneath a North Face jacket, and construction boots. A Hard Worker with a Warm Face and a Brilliant Smile.
One) I adore the fact that I can write about him because I have not a clue what his name was. He looked like a Rich, or maybe a Matt. They are all named Matt, right? Well, chances are "Matt" won't be stumbling upon www.HannahKaty.com anytime soon. Unless, by chance, he Googles "Hard Worker" "Brilliant Smile" "Girl with iPod" "Love at First Sight" "4 Train" in which case I will appropriately tag this post as such. (Hi Matt?!)
Two) I don't think I loved him for his Beautiful Smile but for the fact that in a crowded 4 train, with a mariachi band playing in the background, he made me feel like I was the only one. And any New Yorker can attest, there are days when it feels glorious to feel like you are the only one.
And he also made me curse the day where I never lived on 125th street and could not leave the 4 train with him. But he smiled as he left, a Most Genuine Smile, and it got me through the day.
It is the question I receive the most: Have you met any men? Any love in a coffee shop lately? I laugh over the fact that most of my girlfriends will text me if the song "Love at a Coffee Shop" ever comes on and the thought of me slides into their head.
I could talk about brilliant love stories every single day. If someone would let me, I would take every morning to write silly little love stories and plaster them all over the sides of buildings in Manhattan. But, as much as I pray for the day when I have my very own love story, my very own "boy meets girl, girl loves boy, boy cannot live without girl" kind-of scenario, I don't need it right now. Surprise, surprise: I am the girl who wants a love story but does not need one right now.
A role model of mine once talked with me on matters of life & love and a sudden romance that can make the two hold hands with one another. She said the most meaningful kind of love that I would one day encounter is when I am fully full, wholly whole. And I reach out my hand to another who is fully full, wholly whole. And together we will not complete one another. But there will be no denying: we will make one another better. We will be each other's superb add-ons.
New York City is a thoughtful teacher when it comes to matters of learning how to fall head-over-heels in love with yourself. With your Potential. Your Capabilities. Your Place in This World. It gives you enough people to smile at, enough hands to shake, enough stories to hear to leave you tossing and turning at the end of the day, anxious to wake up already and see where you will fit into someone elses' life in the following day.
One might say I am having a wild love affair with myself these days. Waking up to my own heartbeat, roaming with no direction around the city, smiling as I plug my soul into classic novels like Lolita & Beloved and plug my ears into rap music.
Being a girl who loves her place in this world in every position, from the child's pose at her Bikram yoga class to sitting Indian style on the floor of her prayer room.
Being a girl who loves her place in this world at any time of the day, from the sound of her alarm clock ringing at 5a.m. to her commute home at rush hour.
Being a girl who loves her place in this world with anything on her feet, from a pair of lime green sneakers to a pair of rain boots especially manufactured for puddle jumping.
Being a girl who loves her place in this world with anything in her hands, from the holiday Starbucks cup that makes any New Yorker feel home to a pair of barbels that make her feel empowered.
Being a girl who loves her place in this world with anything on my heart and sleeves, from the friends she loves deeply even when at a distance to the MDGs that line her heart.
Being a girl who lovers her place in this world during any conversation she is holding, from one with her preschoolers about Spiderman & Santa to one with a beautiful friend from Brooklyn, over a glass of Chardonnay and a big bowl of guacamole.
Being a girl who loves her place in this world and all the of the unknown people within it, from the homeless man by the train stop to the lonely business man waiting at the intersection.
Being a girl who loves her place in this world along with the mystery of not knowing whether a great love story will occur in the very place that she is in.