Underground Take Off

The underground train urges me to zone out. To be anywhere but here. It’s paused momentarily. I’m not concerned. Underground, with strangers, layers deep under paved roads, I’m stepping around puddles of my past, peering through windows at myself—memories so warped with time and emotion that it’s like I’m dreaming in the fluorescent buzz of the still train car. Rationality doesn’t usually join me on these journeys. Insecurities balloon in my thoughts. Echoing voices of superiors, peers, and strangers grasp me in a trance wound up in the space between my eyebrows. Here, lunch box between my legs, headphones sitting silently in my ears, my open eyes are closed to this daily underground journey. It’s only 8 A.M.

Suddenly sensation is calling me back. As if we’re about to take off from the ground, the train accelerates. The noise vibrates and we’re all part of the rumble forward—or sideways. It is the moment of relinquishing any drop of control for the duration of the atmospheric ride and the coinciding drop of one’s stomach in the initial lift off—the somatic experience of facing a choice. To hold on tight or to let go. A choice whether to let of of control that never existed. I’m reminded of all the take-offs that have thrust me into new adventures and I’m awake again. Present in the perception shattering moment of relinquishing control. Those moments of complete in-between.

Even if just for a moment, the recent hypnotic thoughts are released. I’m breathing with the present. Everything is perfectly how it must be. Thank you, I think. For the memories that rush back. For the small reminders that letting go is an option. That my thoughts are not my reality. That these treasures are accessible in the minute moments of daily routine.

The awkward train pauses again and again, jerkily following a slower one up ahead. Paused in darkness, and once at the apex of a bridge over the river, the stop-and-go provides an extended number of take-off moments this morning. Thank you, I think, as the euphoria of released rumination and pre-escape jitters wash over me. From my chest, to the space between my eyes, to my shoulders and my hips. It’s 8:25 A.M. and the day has begun again.

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