Sunday evening, I walked into the train and sat right by the door. The train stopped on the next stop and a couple of people walked in. The last person to walk in was a young man with a mini stereo system. He must have been from Detroit or Chicago - we are all from somewhere in this city. He was about 6 foot tall, skinny with long arms. He was wearing a grey t shirt with navy sleeves probably from old navy, black pants and black Air jordans which we scuffed on the sides and on the top. He wore a smile on his face, with a cap perched slightly on the left on his head.
As the train doors shut, he excused himself and he said he wanted to bless the train people with a dance. The guy sitted next to me glanced at his phone and pressed the buttons on his phone a couple of times then adjusted his head phones. The lady in a burgundy shawl sitting across for me scooted her back on her sit and folded her arms eyes on Mr.Detroit.
The young man fussed with his stereo and a minute later, Justin Timberlake was crooning “Gone” and he was off. He pirouetted on the train like usher, moonwalked like Michael Jackson while waving his arms left to right. The arm wave reminded me of the car wash balloons with flailing arms. His feet retreated back and forth in different motions, sliding and twisting adding more scuffs to his Air Jordans. His legs at someone point looked like they had been dislocated from the body. I was mesmerized by this performance. When the train pulled up at the next stop, the young man danced his way out. I wondered if he had decided to leave us mid performance but right before the doors closed he flew back in as if he had forgotten something. He grabbed one of the poles and hang on to it for dear life, unwound himself and continued pirouetting to the front of the car and back. His arms waving like ribbons in the wind. He made it look effortless. As Justin Timberlake crooned his last note, he slowed down to robot like motions then came to a halt.
He started clapping for his damn self then some of us joined in. A drop of sweat was trickling down from under his hat as he picked up his stereo and stood still.
“Thank you guys for giving me your attention, stay positive and be blessed.” he said. “ And remember that as long as you have have a breath, life’s always a test. Follow your dreams.”
He walked out at the next stop.
I thought about him as the train slowly careened off from the platform. The confidence, his aura, him smiling while scuffing his shoes as he danced. The dancer made me think of the many people in this city, who come here to pursue their dreams. They sing on subways, dance on platforms, drum and pipe tunes without a care in the world.
We learn something everyday, what I learnt that sunday evening would be summarised by this philosopher, historian and author who at one time lived in the woods, for two years.
“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you've imagined.” Henry David Thoreau