I gazed at the tracks and they gazed back at me. I shuffled my bag around. The strap was never quite right. The woman to my left was looking at her phone, enamored with some match-3 game. The wind from the train’s passing was ruffling her sundress. Red hair, green eyes. How easily I fell into love with silent strangers. Poems would have been written about her in a different time, or maybe even today.
The second train was always early. However, I just needed the third back to Calgary. The proper businessman, white shirt-black tie-slick khakis, comes barreling through the station, yelling, “Hold that door!” I rush forward to grab it, as he pushes in, grabbing my shoulder in a brotherly display of thanks. The chime announcing the departure rings proudly, the car beginning to speed up as it heads to The Beltline. It’s passengers enjoying the breeze as they head towards work or home.
The doors slide shut just as he comes within reach
He stands ahead of the green-eyed angel. Grumbling something about traffic and an idiot on 201. He sets his laptop case down on the ground beside his feet as his call ends and begins to furiously type onto his iPhone’s dirty screen. The crease in his pants stops halfway down the leg. The woman shakes her head as a bug whines in her ear- her hair to waving at me. Curls suit her. I look down at my beat-up loafers, one sock looks too high. No use in caring, nobody is looking at my feet anyway.
As the second train disappears, I drag myself to the empty bench and sit down, avoiding the water spots. I might as well take advantage of the strangely deserted station. Probably won’t have another chance like this. This bench is normally prime real estate. The fiery vixen ahead of me moves closer to the tracks as the third train’s approach begins, putting the phone down to her side and anxiously tapping on it with French tip nails.
Maybe I should just go home. No reason to go in to the office today. I had finished most of the bug-testing on the EmTech project yesterday. I wasn’t going to accomplish anything productive sitting in my chair, spinning in circles. Musing about the dullness of my life was already a daily task, no need to exacerbate it further with hours of solitude. It was an oppressive thought. It invaded my mind constantly. What was I doing with my life?
I approach from the right, slightly brushing her arm, “Excuse me, I hope this isn’t too forward, but I’d like to take you out for a coffee right now. I know a great place down the street.”
She excitedly agrees. We fall dangerously in love with one another over coffee and bland, premade beignets. She reveals she was hoping I would take the initiative. Desperately hoping I would say something to her.
The bell chimes as the train comes to a complete stop
I stand and take a moment to stretch, adjusting my glasses. The woman’s sundress is again flowing around her as the whirlwind of the train catches up to us. The businessman in front of us, still typing on his phone, starts forward to the nearest doors. His bag falling flat as his foot leaves its resting place. The woman walks speedily forward, scooping the bag into her arms.
As she turns right and starts to walk back towards the entrance, I call out, as I begin to walk towards her, picking up speed. She looks over her shoulder at me, green eyes wide, and races forward, clutching the laptop case tighter. I manage to keep pace with her, yelling to the door security as we near the front. They block her way. She looks back at me, the fire in her eyes matching her hair. I suppose not every angel is pure at heart.
The officer stands up from his chair, scraping the floor as it moves back
“Alright, Mr. Letourneau, we appreciate the assistance. Your statement will help expedite this process. It’s good you were watching today. We didn’t have the normal patrol here due to the accident. 7 car pile-up near 201, can you believe it?”
I stand up while expressing my condolences and shock. I grab my bag and walk back to the main station, eyes lingering on the empty tracks as I pass on my way to the front entrance. They were still staring at me, hungry for apathy, for the dullard I normally am. I guess they would have to wait until Monday. I have a new project starting then. Plenty of time to fall back into my old habits. As I wait for the street sign to turn into the strangely shaped little white man, I stare at the passing cars. My reflection looking back at me meekly from the momentary mirrors that pass. The weight of my insignificance creeps into my head. How small a piece I am in the great cog work of the world. It is soul-crushing, hope-stealing and threatens to overwhelm. I sigh, as I often do, and continue to wait. The palpable pointlessness crowding my thoughts. Why was I here again?
The street light changes from red to white, signaling our turn to pass
As I move with the crowd, I sigh with an unexpected relief. The day was not a complete waste. I felt a passion stir within myself that had been dormant for a while. A feeling of warmth and content. It might be happiness. I believe it is happiness.