Although the woman was ranting, there was something dignified about her. Maybe that’s what seemed so chilling about the experience. She looked like someone’s grandmother or aunt. Not like someone gone mad.

“How could you let her go like this?” the woman yelled. “How could you pay no attention to her needs? You are selfish! Selfish!”

Everyone on the subway was quiet. The old woman was addressing an apparition. There was a pause, as if the recipient of her question was being allowed to respond.

“I know all that!” she yelled disgustedly, “I know all that! You’ve said it a thousand times!”

Then she spoke excitedly in Spanish, which I couldn’t understand. Her small body trembled with rage, yet she tried to remain composed.

“You coward!” she screamed, “To only come to me like this! Coward!”

Then the train stopped and the doors opened and several people quickly deboarded.


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