Parable # 12: Encounter



I stared at the man opposite me on the A train. His face was strangely familiar and I realized he was having the same reaction to seeing me. We both got up and took hold of one of the poles in the middle of the car. We ran through the usual possible shared experiences; schools, professional associations, people we knew, etc., to no avail. It was only after I left the train that I remembered. Years earlier we had both worked at the Monks Inn, a restaurant near Lincoln Center that would get insanely busy whenever the opera or ballet let out. I was a waiter, and wore a monk’s robe. He was a cashier. I never really knew him. But fifteen or twenty times a night our faces would be inches apart at the cashier’s window as I handed him my customers’ checks and money, and he gave me their change.

–Adam Simon