Traveling without ticket

Usually, he drives his Subaru Forester slowly, with the same care he takes with all things. But today is Monday morning, and his train to New York will arrive in 15 minutes. The driver, Mike, can make the train if he speeds during the last 5 minutes of the drive. With his glasses left at home, his wide eyes focus on the blurry highway and the car screeches into a parking space. Without time and money to pay the parking fee, he takes a crumpled napkin from his pocket and writes “Please don’t give me a ticket! I don’t have enough money today, it won’t happen again!”

Mike makes the train. He breathes. His legs stretch into the aisle and he relaxes into his denim jacket. His empty pockets remind him that his wallet is lost somewhere in the large city of New York, always running from its owner like it has something to hide.

“Tickets…tickets…” The train conductor walks down the aisle. Mike launches his long body out of his seat and rushes to the bathroom of the car before the conductor can see him. He waits. After hearing the sound of the conductor’s footsteps, he returns to his seat.

He takes out his laptop and squints at the spreadsheet of his clients and their upcoming concerts and events. The press and coordination of music festivals and concerts on a national level with audiences of millions are in the hands of a 20 year old. He scratches his head. In his hands are his two younger sisters, his twin brother fighting addiction, his divorced parents, and his struggles with money. For this his hands are agile, they’re large, strong, and he taps on his keyboard quickly and efficiently.

He is under enough pressure to break you or me or anyone else, but Mike doesn’t only push forward, he does so with a smile, a “How are you?”, a hug. His energy is magnetic, it’s electric, it moves the train. With a daily commute of two and a half hours, he needs something more than coffee. It’s something much more, it’s his determination shared by no one else his age. His energy drives the train closer and closer to his city.

He will arrive at work 30 minutes late, but he’s already finished this morning’s tasks. He breathes, and with his head down, he works.