Subway Stories : Reflections All Around

Photo by Masao Hirasawa

When you look at your own reflection in the window while riding on the subway underground, it’s interesting to see what gets reflected back at you. 

Of course you see your own face, which looks amazing because all the lumps and bumps of your last breakout don’t show and the darkness of the tunnel outside your car blends just enough with the light inside the car to smooth out your features.

It makes you feel like those face wash models that caress their faces to feel the oily softness of their own skin.

By contrast, you can also see the little details on other people that aren’t as obvious when you look at them face-to-face in the florescent light of the subway car.

Like the fact that the girl wearing a baseball cap to your left has a large tattoo on the nape of her neck.

Or the guy staring down at his phone is not expressionless but is actually smirking at the video he’s watching. Most of all, you notice the people standing closest to you noticing you looking at your own reflection on the train window.

Some of them just glance at you but then go back to staring at their phone or at the ground. Others look at you with semi-disgust and semi-amusement, as if you were a small child standing too close to the window and sticking out your tongue to lick the glass.

Then there’s the person standing right next to you that keeps glancing up at your reflection in the glass and then quickly back down and you end up staring at each other for a split second or two through the window.

It makes you want to squirm, because if you’re like me, you don’t like being stared at and it’s just too awkward of a situation to push by continuing to stare, like I did one day.

I let my gaze linger for a little longer and it felt like I was invading the person’s privacy. He eventually looked away and then got off at the next stop and I felt my face flushing with embarrassment for the next five minutes of the ride.

But I couldn’t see any of the heat that invaded and radiated off of my face in a warm red spiral. I was only faced with the same girl I had been staring at all along.

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