The cat on the subway platform catches my eye. I watch it, even though I have some place to be. It sits in the middle of the crowd, undisturbed by the tide of feet flowing around it. The end of the cat’s tail is wrapped around its body, coming to rest between its front paws. The cat watches the subway trains come and go with the whoosh and snap of doors, watches people smile or grimace or shiver when the loudspeakers tell them to mind the gap. It watches commuters with briefcases in their hands and stress bowing their shoulders, loners with headphones sealing them off from the world, mothers with children, groups of teenagers who are still nearly children themselves. The cat watches the posters on the walls, advertisements of products shown by people who are no longer people, because they have been made to be more. It watches the food vendors and the newspaper sellers, tense faces pulled into cheerful smiles, wondering if they will make enough to feed their families, knowing deep down that they will not.
And the cat watches me. Me, sitting alone with a backpack on my knees and an expression on my face that always seems to slide toward amusement, even when nothing is funny. Most people hate that expression, I’ve noticed. I don’t do them the courtesy of caring what they think. This is the expression one gets from watching.
If cats could have human expressions, ours faces would be the same.