Published August 3, 1996

Bryn Mawr El signThe heat was relentless in its assault upon the city. The streets were filled with the poor and unemployed, unable to afford air conditioning.

At midnight the southbound train pulled up to the platform.

'Bryn Mawr! This is Bryn Mawr,' echoed through the streets below, distorted by the train's intercom. As the train pulled away, the platform emptied until only a man, his daughter and myself were left.

The man was in his late thirties, African-American with a mustache and bushy beard. He spoke to his daughter in a low voice, slurred as the result of consuming alcohol and God knows what else. 'Daddy's gotta pee, so you keep lookout you hear!'

'Okay!' she exclaimed with the excitement and enthusiasm any eleven-year-old gets upon being entrusted with an important task. The girl began to scope out the area for tightwads who would have the nerve to be disturbed by a man uriniating on the platform. For an instant our eyes met, and I smiled at her. She returned the gesture and spun around, sending her braids flying through the air.

The silence was broken by the sound of urine splashing against wooden planks. Thoroughly unimpressed by this man's concept of parenthood and bladder control, I started to saunter away from father and child, leaving them this special moment to be shared together.

Zipping up his fly, the drunk emparted unpon his diatribe, a profound analysis of his nemesis who kept bothering him to stop drinking. He ended his psychological profile loudly and abruptly. ... 'That fucking asshole!'

The young girl, moved by the performance, giggled incessently then offered her moral support. 'That's right daddy!'

Their eyes met and they exchanged glances of love, hapiness and devotion. The man put his arm around his daughter, and the two started down the stairs.

Bryn Mawr track

... words and pictures
by Jake Eldridge