The MTA Proposal

will-you-marry-me_266177-700xJosh McNamara was the man that Berta Sanchez was going to marry in eighteen days. He had dark brown shaggy hair that looked like someone had been running their fingers through it. He had blue-grey eyes that had captured her imagination from the very first day that she saw him. He was a tall lean man with a farmers tan and wiry arms that were dusted with dark hair. Berta was a young black woman with long curly hair that reached her shoulders and grey eyes. She was curvy in all the right places and very athletic.

They had met while sitting on the 6 train one cold dreary November day in 2008. She had been sitting across the aisle and couldn’t stop staring at him. She tried to be inconspicuous but she wasn’t subtle enough. He kept catching her wayward glances and by the time they reached Grand Central he was smiling at her. When they reached 59th St. station he got off and Berta was sure she had passed up an opportunity. How wrong she was!

The very next day on her way home from work she once again boarded the 6 train at Astor Place and sat down next to Josh. She couldn’t believe her luck. He glanced at her and smiled in recognition, while she sat there looking poleaxed. “Hi, there.” All coherent thought fled from Berta’s mind. She may have smiled but could not be sure of even that. She swallowed several times and finally managed to say hello. “What were you writing yesterday?” Berta wondered at first what he meant, then remembered that she had been writing part of an article for her blog.
“Oh I was working on a piece about rush hour on public transit and how no ride is ever the same.”
“So you’re a writer?” he asked.
“Yeah I have a lifestyle blog that is beginning to take off on and to make ends meet I do ad copy and freelance work.”
That conversation led to a dessert date the next day, a movie date the day after that and before either one of them knew it, they were living together and planning a future.

Josh had surprised Berta with his proposal. They had been on their way home from dinner at Angel Share and as they reached Astor Place, he suggested getting on the train. She wondered why for a brief second since they now lived off the N line in Astoria but decided to humor his laziness. As they reached the platform the 6 train arrived and they got on. It moved forward for what felt like thirty seconds and then came to a screeching halt. Over the P.A. system the announcer explained that they were being held up because of train traffic ahead of them and to please be patient. Berta mumbled that it was all a bunch of BS while Josh seemed a little twitchy. Then the sound of their song “Holocene” by Bon Iver filled the subway car. Josh’s voice came on next and proceeded to tell Berta and every other passenger how she was the woman he had always searched for, that he wanted to share the rest of his life with her and how he was never letting her go. As the other passengers cheered and hollered, Josh got down on one knee and pulled out the ring. Berta could barely see it through her tears but it was impossible to miss. It was a diamond cut sapphire with a platinum band set with pave diamonds that winked in the light. His voice told her how his life had changed for the better the day she got on the 6 train at Astor Place. As Josh looked up at her from his kneeled position, Berta managed to nod in between small sobs. The clapping, cheering and shouting around them was overwhelming. The tape ended and the announcer shared the good news with everyone. The roar of approval from all the other cars was deafening.

When they reached Union Square and got off, they were trailed by shouts of congratulations and joy. It was such a memorable day and she knew that their wedding day would be added to her trove of “special” days where everything was brighter and clearer even in memory.


Image from