Photo by caffeina
Sometimes life is worth living because of chance meetings and moments like these. Wil didn’t let this moment pass him by. Here’s his story.
It started, like most of my days end, waiting for the N-Judah outside the CalTrain station, reading, listening to my headphones. The train ambled up a couple minutes earlier than NextBus predicted (for perhaps the first time in history.) So, I scrambled to get my bag together and slipped onto the second car as the “door closing” warning chimed out. I looked up at the almost empty car as I pressed the back of my wallet against the Clipper terminal and saw a girl that made my heart immediately break into a hundred pieces.
She was amazing. Slender with long black hair, a soft face, and clothes that told you she worked in an office, but refused to conform totally… Her rock-star boots and black tights lead up to an uneven jean skirt with a more conservative silk blouse darting out from beneath a cashmere sweater. As I walked toward the open seats I got caught staring and smiled, turning the darkest shade of red possible. She, seeing me smile, smiled back bobbing her head to the music pumping through her white ear buds. Without thought I sat next to her in the only occupied row in sight, removed my headphones, and stretched out my hand. She shook it, removing one ear bud suspiciously with her free hand.
“I’m Wil, nice to meet you.”
“Amber.” she grinned as the train lunged forward, ringing it’s warning to pedestrians as it crossed the street.
I asked her what she was listening to, The Dead Weather. Had she heard that The White Stripes had officially called it quits today? She hadn’t. I lamented never seeing them live, she had seen them twice, I was more jealous than I could express.
“What are you reading?” she asked taking off the other ear bud and pointing at the thick volume in my right hand.
“The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt,” I read aloud, offering her the cover. “I don’t recommend you read it unless you want to feel like a complete and total waste of space.” She laughed. The train was stopping again at Brannan. “I’m not kidding, I’m almost 500 pages in and I just finally got to his thirty-third birthday, my age. So far he’s accomplished more than I am ever likely to, and he’s not even done any of the stuff he’s famous for yet.” She laughs again, giving me a look that could only mean she’s measuring me as the train gets moving again, now with more passengers.
We continue to talk, she keeps laughing, the train continues to fill, but with each stop that passes my heart sinks further and further… I’m on the clock. This could all end at any moment and I’m nearly out of things to say that won’t completely betray the pounding in my chest (if she can’t already feel it through the plastic bench joining us.)
“I love your boots,” I say, looking down at her feet. She shuffles her legs to demonstrate them for closer inspection, “…and everything else about you.” I squeamishly utter, looking up at her face. She looks in the direction of the other seats and blushes.
“Thanks, you’re not so bad yourself, for some random guy on the train…”
“I’m not some random guy,” clutching my chest, acting hurt, “I’m Wil.” She laughs. This is my final chance, I can feel it… “So, I’m getting off in Cole Valley, want to get a drink?” In the second or so that I wait for her answer I feel as though falling through the air, this is going to hurt. She looks at me, more suspiciously than ever, but smiles with all her teeth.
“Sure… that’s my stop too.”
I blush, looking away and see the beaming faces of a couple dozen strangers smiling back at me. The train stops at Cole and everyone knowingly makes a path for us as we take off into the night, hearts pounding, trying not to smile too wide. I guess I won’t have to repeat *this* Groundhog Day.