Chicago moment

It’s almost eleven.  A moment, a cold moment, we’re catching the red line El and it’s fifteen degrees.  We find the warming “chicken lights” on the platform and Chervil snuggles up to me for warmth.  After a few minutes another couple comes along (he looks kind of like Howard Stark) and they snuggle together for warmth as well.  We all huddle against the cold.


A woman comes up and stands between us.   She’s wearing impractical-for-the-weather shoes, skinny-heeled black and white patent leather with frilly red ankle socks and a short skirt that seems to match.  Her coat covers the rest of her outfit.  She stands there for a few moments and I see her seem to shrink in on herself as she takes in the situation.  I can’t help but imagine she’s thinking I’m the fat girl with no one to snuggle against the cold with, and I want to say something, but what?  We’re on a train platform and it would be impossibly weird and creepy to suggest that she’s welcome to huddle with us.  Even a compliment on her cool shoes, something to say, “hey, I see you, you’re a person too” would be kind of awkward and pointlessly creepy at this hour.

After a few minutes of fidgeting, she leaves the warm space, goes farther down the platform to stand by herself in the cold.  I feel like I have failed her somehow.