On the train this morning, a woman got up from her seat and moved toward the exit door with her daughter, a little girl who I'd guess was about six years old, leading the way. As the train began to slow down before the stop, the brakes jerked two or three times, each one harsher than the last, realigning the center of gravity of those who were standing or, in this case, walking. The woman was thrown off balance but quickly grabbed a pole to re-gain her footing while the little girl stumbled forward and nearly fell down. The woman gasped in horror as she watched her daughter trip over her own feet but never fall, and the surrounding passengers - mostly women themselves - mimicked her shock, some of them wheezing a worrisome sigh, a deep inhalation which begins low in the stomach and rises through the chest and then becomes lodged in the throat and stays there, hollow and creaking, as if it were the last breath that they - any of them - would ever choke forth, so dismayed were they over the plight of this little girl who was actually unharmed and most likely wondering what all the fuss was about. Once the train had stopped, the woman rushed across the few feet - which must have seemed more like a million - separating her and her daughter. When she reached her, the woman grabbed the girl forcefully yet lovingly by the shoulders, looked into her eyes and asked, "Are you okay?" The girl looked confused and didn't say anything. She just nodded and revolved her eyes, looking at the people surrounding her, her head remaining motionless. And she thought to herself, "What the hell? It's not like it was 9/11 or anything". And, from now on, when something happens that is far less severe than people make it out to be, that's what I'll say. I'll say, "What the hell? It's not like it was 9/11 or anything".
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