(New York - Jim O'Grady, WNYC) This post-Valentine bon bon just landed from Praxedes Arias, who read yesterday's post about Love on the Subway. It describes her encounter on a downtown train. She writes: "He looked older and Irish American...I liked that look. Beard, mustache, blond...completely opposite of my family or Spanish men (I was born in Havana)."
When this story takes place, she's 27...and ready.
"I met my husband on the A train. I was performing my final play at the American Academy of Performing Arts and was reviewing my lines. It was a Sunday afternoon so the car was pretty empty but I looked up and suddenly he was there sitting in front of me. The guy I had seen in the neighborhood and on the train for weeks and months but never spoke to. He nodded and said 'hi.' I said 'hi' and immediately looked down at my playbook. 'Oh my gosh, he spoke to me,' I thought; my heart beating a mile a minute. I was really shy so starting a conversation was out of the question. I needed to find another way. I pulled out a flier of the play from my backpack and circled my name with a note. I waited until we got to Columbus Circle and gave him the flier right before I exited the train and said 'I hope you can make it.' I performed that evening and greeted my guests afterward...and was a little disappointed he wasn't there. I assumed he was married. A few weeks later, I was running late and ran for an overcrowded A train. I made it, and stood there looking disheveled and tired. I felt a tap on my shoulder. I turned around and it was him. He apologized for not having attended the play because he had a previous engagement. Then he asked me out to lunch. Of course I said, 'yes.' He took me to Phoebe's restaurant and the American Museum of Natural History...a perfect first date. We are now married 16 years and have three beautiful little boys. We are still in love and the best of friends."
To have your heart warmed even more, go to wnyc.org for audio versions of a pair F train love stories--one of them a marriage proposal.
p.p.s. Click "more" to read the above story by the man in question, James O'Driscoll.
It was the Sunday morning before Christmas in 1992 and I was taking the A train down from Washington Heights to go to Macy's for my usual last minute shopping. I'm not sure why, but for some reason I was walking through the train looking for a good place to sit in spite of the abundance of choices on the lightly populated train.
Then, when I entered into one of the cars, that's when I saw Her. The beautiful woman with the long dark mane of curly hair that I had seen around the neighborhood. I suppose I was too shy to just sit next to her and strike up a conversation, so instead I sat down across from her and tried to do the interested, yet still cool and casual Hi/smile/nod thing. Of course this was followed by numerous super friendly yet slightly aloof smiles whenever she looked my way.
As the train pulled into Columbus Circle, I looked up and there she was, heading for the door next to me but she stopped to give me a piece of paper and said something like, "I hope you can make it", as she left the train.
The doors closed, the train continued south and I was left staring at a piece of paper and trying to figure out what the heck kind of name Praxedes Arias was.
I was intrigued, but already committed to going to a friends house for football and our annual guys (we were all single at the time) Christmas dinner, which we had been doing for a few years so that we could celebrate the holiday together before the actual 25th of December, when most of us would be with our respective families. I did however bring the play flyer she had given me and spent most of the afternoon and evening wondering if Praxedes was a first name or last, what was this play I had never heard of, was she an actress or something and most importantly whether I had blown my best chance by not going. Had I passed on something special for beer, football and turkey?
Convincing myself that she would understand that I'd had a previous commitment, I was determined to ask her out the next time I saw her. That opportunity came within a few weeks, again on the A train. I apologized profusely for not going to see her play but was thrilled when she agreed to go out with me. We set a date for Saturday and had plans for brunch and a trip to the planetarium.
The brunch was fantastic and though I honestly didn't remember the name of the restaurant until my wife reminded me, I remember the location across the street from the museum, the great big windows and most of all how incredibly easy and fun it was to talk to this beautiful woman with the great hair, smile, eyes...everything!!!
As we walked through the planetarium afterwards, and this was the "old" Hayden Planetarium, with those wonderful long dark hallways, that were just perfect for that tentative first holding of hands and, in the long hall that showed the relative size of the Sun and distance to planets, that's when I leaned in and we had our first kiss. I know it's corny, but I guess you could say it was under the stars.
Since then it's been many wonderful years, one heck of a wedding and three precious children as beautiful as their Mom and I've often felt that those many blessings were all thanks to one chance encounter on the A train.