A few months ago I noticed Phoebe waving to the man behind the glass at our home subway stop. MTA employees sit in cubicles that look like this, sans Easter lights.
I asked her about her little wave and she indicated that she always waves to him when we come up through the subway.
I had certainly noticed him before. He has a cheerful face, kind eyes and a very bald head. He stands out as MTA employees go. He doesn't seem bothered or annoyed or unhappy, that's why he stands out.
We pass by him everyday on the way home from school and I have noticed him waving to Phoebe or her waving to him, since I first realized they had this waving relationship.
A few days ago, he saw us coming through the turnstile, got up from his chair and came to the door. He asked me if he could give them a cookie, and I said sure.
He handed them each two little biscuits and said: "These cookies are from Ireland, like me." And then he said to me: "They have gotten so big these past few years."
We thanked him and went on our way, Phoebe loved the cookies so much she hoped outloud that wouldn't be the last time he extended them a treat.
I thought about him over the next day or two. When did he start noticing us? We certainly stand-out in the city and certainly in this transient neighborhood of young professionals and Long Island commuters...not many children about, especially in pairs with blond hair.
Does he know that we get home around the same time each day, with Tuesdays being the exception? Does he notice when Jason takes Phoebe home late on Wednesdays? Did he realize that Lolly stopped going to school and was thus with me all the time suddenly? Did he notice when my mom was picking her up, and not me? Did he see my black eye?
What does he observe from behind the window, sitting there day after day, besides the fact that, they've grown.
I wondered why he chose that day to reach out to us, after 2 years, finally making human contact. I didn't see him the next day. I wonder if I will see him today, maybe that was his goodbye?