The doors rolled shut and I couldn't believe it. I was thunderstruck.
I had run down the escalator in the Metro station to the waiting subway car and then waited beside the door as my friend "hurried" down the escalator stairs herself. "Go on, get aboard, don't wait for me," she called out to me as she approached at what I charitably call "Washington DC speed" (as opposed to New York City speed).
The next train wasn't for 18 minutes. I waited on the platform's edge by the door while she came up to the still-open doorway. When she was right beside me, I stepped inside the car first.
The door immediately closed. She was outside and I was inside. This was an astonishing, immutable fact.
I had never before been shut off from any traveling companion by a closing train car door, not in 57 years of close calls on rail transport systems encompassing New York City, Long Island, Boston, Atlanta, Chicago, Miami and Washington. It was an unbelievable feeling of helplessness.
Although I was only going to ride three stops with her before I transferred, I had been looking forward to spending that time with her. This had never happened to me before.