Warm temps, sunshine mean end of friendship – for now

17 May

This column originally ran in the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal.

 BY SHEENA BARNETT

Now that spring’s almost here, I’m slowly saying good bye to a dear friend: My bright yellow jacket.

Like Little Red Riding Hood’s, well, little red riding hood, or Adam Sandler’s red-hooded sweatshirt, my yellow jacket is almost an extension of my personality. OK, so it’s really bright and happy-looking, something I don’t think I am. And it was cheap – $50 but on sale for $7, and I can’t say I’m cheap. Nevertheless, I happen to love this jacket. 

Why? Well, this jacket saved my life once.

Picture it: Spring break, the last one of my college career. I was in New York City for a journalism conference, and it was my first time in the city. It was pretty chilly so I wore my yellow jacket everywhere.

My friends and I been given all the usual warnings, especially the one about avoiding the subways at all costs. Of course we rode the subways during our trip, but I wasn’t about to venture there by myself.

One bright, sunny day, my friend Bailey and I took off to see the sights like the Statue of Liberty and Ground Zero. After that, we had plans to see “The Producers” on Broadway.

After the sights, we were ready to go back to our hotel. Bailey and I were in line to swipe our Metrocards to enter the subway system. Bailey’s card swiped fine, so he ran on to get on the train. Mine, however, was stuck. When it finally swiped, I ran up to the subway to catch up with Bailey. But as I got there the doors closed and – SWOOSH! – the subway took off. The last thing I saw was Bailey’s wide-eyed face.

There I was. In the subway. Alone. Just what I’d been warned not to do.

Scared out of my wits, I tried to find someone safe-looking to stand beside. I found a woman carrying a large toy airplane, and decided to stand near her – my justification being, “Who’s going to hurt a lady who’s taking a toy home to her kid? Or the frightened girl standing relatively close to her?”

Bailey sent me a text message telling me to get on the next train and meet him at the next stop, which I did, probably with a look of terror on my face during the journey.

I got out at the next stop, but it was so crowded. 

I couldn’t find him in the masses, and I worried he couldn’t find me, either. After a few nervous minutes, he found me.

“I didn’t see you for the longest time,” he said. “Then I saw your yellow jacket, and I knew it was you.”

So, farewell, for a few months, dear jacket. May our time together be as eventful – but less scary – next winter.

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