I saw someone die last night.
I was meeting a former professor in Manhattan, and took the M train in from Brooklyn. I was early and engrossed in a book, so I decided to sit down on a bench by the platform rather than brave the cold only to sit barside for another half an hour. Two trains came. The second was a J.
A woman had just missed it. She ran up the stairs and onto the platform, only nearly just missing the doors closing. She banged on the doors, pissed. A cop was on the platform, rushing towards her, saying, “Ma’am, please.” I looked up from where I was sitting to see the commotion. The train started to leave.
She whipped around, and either momentum got to her or she lost her balance, but she fell.
I saw everything.
It all happened so fast.
She fell. Another cop came out of nowhere as well as another gentleman, and they rushed towards her, arms outstretched, trying to get to her. Her leg got pulled between the train car and the platform. I saw her face.
I saw everything
And then it was over.
I was up by then, pulling at my jacket, scratching at skin, hyperventilating, hysterical, screaming, screaming, screaming until I tried to move and realized I was fainting and collapsed onto a wall, screaming, screaming, screaming until I realized I wasn’t making a sound at all. I never was. I was only just sobbing.
It was like nobody else saw it except for myself and the cops and the gentleman who tried. There were still people meandering on the platform, 100 feet away, unbothered. A family with a small child tried coming over to stand on that side of the platform and the cops yelled, “HAVE SOME RESPECT, A WOMAN LOST HER LIFE,” and that confirmed that whatever hope I was holding out for was stupid. A woman saw me on the ground and asked me if I was okay and then shot a look over at the tracks. She ran.
I ran out of the station hysterical. I called my boyfriend, hysterical. I took a cab home, numb.
I spent so much time that night crying, thinking about her. I remember what she was wearing. I remember everything. I think about her family, where she was going, what she means to a crowd of people who love her. Who loved her.
I tried to get my mind off it, watch a movie, change the conversation, talk about anything else, stall going to bed, but as soon as it was just me and my thoughts, I became undone. I had 3 nightmares that night, and every time I woke up, I checked to see if my boyfriend was still breathing.
I don’t know how to wipe clean these images. I’m trying, but I can’t. I just keep thinking about her. I keep screaming.
I stared at the crack between the subway car and the platform multiple times today. My brain is stuck on replay.
People keep telling me to talk to someone. I don’t know who. I don’t know how to get over this. I don’t know if I’ll ever.
I watched someone die last night. Their last moments, I saw it. Her face, her eyes, the entire thing. I saw it. I want to unsee it. I want so desperately to stop screaming.