On the last train taken from work, a boy with a guitar belts out "Stand by Me." "When the night has come And the land is dark And the moon is the only light we'll see No I won't be afraid, no I won't be afraid Just as long as you stand, stand by me."
He's wearing a blue shirt with the words "BORN TO PARTY. FORCED TO WORK" spelled out in bold white letters. Half way through the first verse, he switches effortlessly to Spanish, sending meaningless syllables to my ears that wrap around the heart. I shove a one-dollar bill to his hand just as I exit. That's a one-dollar for every guitar wielding, erhu playing, beatbox jamming New Yorker I missed in the past three years. I make up a name for him in my head: Oh Jorge, where else can I find you in the world.
Jorge I won't find you in the subways of Beijing, where the flourscent light gleams off of white tiled floors. You won't be on Tiananmen Square, warbling in a foreign tongue amongst peddlers of Mao watches. Even in the tunnels where guitar players roam, you'd be out of place. Only here, hopping between New York City subway compartments, do you belong, do we belong.