“I’m sorry I just had to switch chairs because the person behind me had this major coughing issue and it just kind of grossed me out,” I said as I took the seat next to her. It was getting kind of crowded on the train. Before it got too crowded I decided to switch seats, in hopes that I wouldn’t be stuck standing or sitting in front of sir sneezes-a-lot.
“It’s okay, that’s really gross,” she said. I looked down at the book she was reading, the title American Mind. Between her index and middle finger she held a pencil in her left hand.
“So do you usually read with a pencil?” I asked her.
“Oh no, this is for school,” she said humbly.
“There’s nothing to be embarrassed about, if you read with a pencil it’s totally fine. I won’t judge you or anything,” I said in polite sarcasm. She laughed.
She goes to Berkeley. One of the most prestigious Universities in California, if not the world’s. She studies anthropology, had two rings on her left finger, and had skinny forearms. Her glasses were Dolce Gabbana and the color of her hair was dyed a shining rusty autumn red shade. We talked about how she got into the major, and how she originally was a journalism major. I asked her if she was in the archaeological category of anthropology. Then I told her about how my friend went to school for archeology but then decided to drop out one semester away from completion because he didn’t want anything to do with an archeology degree. I talked fast. She laughed. She listened. I kept my distance.
I asked her if she could watch my things for a quick second so I could check the subway map as to see where I should get off. “Where you heading to?” she asked me as I came back to take my seat.
I swallowed politely and gently told her, “I’m heading to my girlfriend’s house.”
I could see the thoughtful ease in her eyes dwindle away.
* * * * * * *
A few weeks ago I was talking to my girlfriend about how some guy asked her for her number and her friend’s number to hang out. She told me that he asked for her number simply to hang out and play tennis. Being a cereal flirt at one point in my life, I understood this process. The need to build that comfort and cement that bond that seemed so effortless. Not to be pushing things forward, however, letting them be guided gently towards your favor. Then just letting things happen. I knew the rules. I wasn’t stupid. Men will take whatever they want from the women they want something from. Whether it be marriage, or just one night. When us men, see an opening, we’ll take it. This is what I told my girlfriend. I knew this, because I already lived through it.
As I sat down next to my new subway friend. My stop came closer and it seemed like time had just flew by. I was wondering if I should ask her for her phone number. Maybe we could hang out? Maybe I’d invite her to hang out with my friends? Maybe she’d read my blog, because getting one new reader is always that exciting. These were all stupid reasons. I truth was that I didn’t need her number; I didn’t need it for anything. Sometimes in life we like to replicate enjoyable moments; that’s why friends hang out together more than once, and the reason why people find themselves in relationships. I already had enough friends. I already had a girlfriend. Finding excuses to get this girl’s number was simply about finding excuses.
A few minutes before the train stopped at my stop, I said my goodbyes and she told me about how much she enjoyed talking to me. I replied likewise. As I waited for the train doors to open, I could see her looking vicariously in my direction. I stared at her deeply with a mugging shifty eye stare. She smiled. My life wasn’t built around women and the way to flirt with them. I was built around my natural immaturity and my practical enjoyment of my own insecurities. Life itself, just came naturally.
* * * * * * *
I waited at the nearest bus stop closest from the train station for my girlfriend. She arrived on bike with her usual cheeky grin. I hadn’t seen her for almost 2 weeks. We kissed a dozen times in front of the view of ongoing traffic. I told her about the girl I sat next to on the train and my amazing feat of my awesome boyfriend’liness.
“But she could’ve been your soul mate?” she said to me sarcastically.
“You’re a dork,” I said before kissing her.
“And you’re beautiful, and perfect,” I said kissing her.
“And, oh so amazing!!!” I said immaturely exuberant, right before she told me to stop.
Read last literary piece here: Wrapped Around a Park Bench