A Train Story

I always hoped that the first time I was proposed to would be the last. I also naturally assumed that said proposal would not begin with the question: “What’s your name?” 

It was Saturday night and I had just stepped onto the T to get home from my boyfriend’s apartment. The train car was mostly empty with the exception of a raucous group of friends who had obviously been enjoying quite a few adult beverages while watching the World Cup. I quietly slipped into an open seat toward the front with my guitar in its gig bag on my back, hoping I could sit in peace.
 
No such luck. I was spotted.
 
“Play us a tune!” shouted a young man with an Irish accent. He started chanting and got all of his friends chanting. I laughed and shook my head, which just made them boo and yell louder, and I could feel my face getting hot.
 
Then in a moment of clarity I thought to myself, “Hey, why the hell not?” It was Saturday night after all, and it would have been a very awkward train ride with a large group of people booing me the whole way.
 
What’s a singer-songwriter with a penchant for the melancholy to do in a time like this? Bust out an acoustic version of Tik Tok by Ke$ha, of course. I always knew that cover would come in handy. The train filled with the sweet sound of happy voices singing “Errybody getting’ krunk, Boys try’na touch my junk” in unison.
 
When it was over, everyone cheered. The young Irish man buttoned his shirt back up, (he was very excited about the whole thing) knelt down in front of me and took my hands.
 
“What’s yer name?” he asked.
 
“Kathryn”
 
“Katrin, will you make me tha happiest man in tha world and marry me?”
 
“I’m honored by your proposal… but I regret that I must decline it.” I replied trying not to laugh.
 
After a few rounds of boos for turning the poor lad down, someone requested Wonderwall by Oasis, which I miraculously remembered the chords to, and everyone on board sang along.
 
My stop came right after the chorus. I thanked everybody and wished them all a good night. My jilted Irish lover gave me a hug and drunkenly tried to plant a smooch on me, which I narrowly but thankfully missed.
 
As I stood on the platform zipping my guitar back into its case and not really believing any of what had just happened, I felt shivery and alive. It’s those kinds of strange moments that make life so exciting and interesting and funny. They’re the moments that remind me to be present and open to the stories happening all around me. The moments that make me thankful to live in this city. And next time, I won’t need as much cajoling to play a tune for a train car full of strangers.

4 comments

  • Michael

    Michael Los Angeles, CA

    Wow, what a great story! I have to sing "Both Sides Now" for an audition and I came across your cover on YouTube. Kathryn, you're so talented. Don't ever stop singing. Regards, Michael michaeljvo.com

    Wow, what a great story!

    I have to sing "Both Sides Now" for an audition and I came across your cover on YouTube.

    Kathryn, you're so talented. Don't ever stop singing.

    Regards,
    Michael

    michaeljvo.com

  • Parker

    Parker Overland Park, KS

    Kathryn, OMG! What a story. I was smiling the entire way through. It's amazing the things we experience in life. Love you! Keep stories like this coming if you can! :-)

    Kathryn, OMG! What a story. I was smiling the entire way through. It's amazing the things we experience in life. Love you! Keep stories like this coming if you can! :-)

  • Chris Kallaher

    Chris Kallaher Brookline

    Kathryn, I was just learning your cover of Both Sides Now and wondering why you had not uploaded a video on YouTube for quite awhile so googled you and discovered that you now appear to be attending Berklee, which, compared to the Woodlands, is pretty much right next door. If you will be playing any shows soon please post them on your site so my wife and I can get a babysitter and come see you. It would be a real treat. Hope all is well. Chris K

    Kathryn,
    I was just learning your cover of Both Sides Now and wondering why you had not uploaded a video on YouTube for quite awhile so googled you and discovered that you now appear to be attending Berklee, which, compared to the Woodlands, is pretty much right next door. If you will be playing any shows soon please post them on your site so my wife and I can get a babysitter and come see you. It would be a real treat. Hope all is well.

    Chris K

  • Wally

    Wally Huntsville, TX

    The only thing ever (usually) happened to me carrying a guitar case was some guy trying to sell me coke. You got a better deal than I ever did. Wish I'd been there. You won't remember us, but my daughter still requests your music when riding in the car. When can we buy more?

    The only thing ever (usually) happened to me carrying a guitar case was some guy trying to sell me coke. You got a better deal than I ever did. Wish I'd been there.

    You won't remember us, but my daughter still requests your music when riding in the car. When can we buy more?

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