It happened in the early 70’s, in New York. I was coming home from work on the elevated subway, on the Flushing line, and the subway car was full. The well-dressed young man next to me must have accidentally stepped on the toes of the equally well-dressed young man sitting in front of him. In an instant, words were exchanged, and the young man next to me drew a knife, while I could see that the one in the seat had a pistol in his belt.
Not waiting to see the outcome, I and many of us pushed, rushing to get into the next car as fast as we could. Fortunately, the upcoming stop was mine, and since it was a main transfer point, most of the other passengers got off too.
As we were jostling each other to get down the stairs to the street, I heard two women converse in Hungarian, as they went past me in the rush. Before they disappeared in the crowd, I had a glimpse of only one of them, a small lady with glasses. Perhaps because of the circumstances, this woman’s face was imprinted in my memory. But as you can imagine, this was neither the place nor the time to make acquaintances!
Much water, as the saying goes, had gone under the bridge by the time, some 20 odd years later, I found myself in Connecticut. Friends urged me to call and meet B., a Hungarian woman in the area who had just undergone surgery and would welcome some company.
Well, you guessed it: B. was the lady I had seen briefly on the elevated subway stairs back in Queens all those years ago! We met and became good friends. Small world? Or was it Providence? You decide!