The Train Not Taken

This is the story I wrote yesterday. It started from a post I read on Craiglist, in the Missed Connections section. The rest was likely influenced by a certain person I haven’t heard from since July.

He was on the train again. The guy with a shaved head, charcoal grey suit this time and a red silky looking scarf. No hat, he never wore a hat no matter how much it snowed or rained. I always watched him, shy, from my seat. Sometimes he noticed me, sometimes he didn’t.

I hadn’t seen him this past week. One whole week of commuting without seeing him. I had nearly cried on Friday night, thinking he must have moved or changed jobs and I would never have the chance to meet him now. I regretted not doing something, even something really dumb.

But, there he was back again. Same shaved head, same suit and that same smiley face. He was just one of those people who seemed to smile easily. Sometimes he had conversations with the people around his seat. He laughed easily too and it was a laugh that made me smile, even on the hardest days when I felt worn down to a stub of myself.

I had to meet him tonight, finally. I couldn’t let another day pass by. Maybe he had moved and today was one last trip on the old commuter train. My palms were slick and my stomach in knots but I just had to do something this time.

I knew I looked ok, not one of my better days for looks but it wasn’t too bad. Hopefully I didn’t get too wind blown while I was waiting at my stop for the train. I couldn’t quite dare reach up to pat my hair, he might look over at just that moment.

Before I could think about what I was doing I made my legs stand up. I shuffled my purse and laptop over my shoulder and made myself take that first step. I was committed then and couldn’t go back. Besides, some jerk stole my seat before I had even gotten into the aisle.

He looked up and watched me coming along the aisle. He smiled and I smiled back. I hoped my teeth didn’t have any leftover lunch and then I just hoped my voice wouldn’t come out in a squeak or not at all. “Hi”, brilliant, I thought. All these months and I couldn’t do better than a Hi.

“Hi,” He answered, “Was it too cold there by the door?”

“No…” I couldn’t think of a thing to say, rot my brain.

“It’s always colder by the door. John gets off at the next station you could sit in his place then.” He gave a nod to one of the men sitting across from him. They’d been talking awhile, I’d been listening but really only hearing one of them.

“Sure, that would be great.” I let my purse and laptop slide down to rest at my feet. The train moved on, snow and darkess blurring past the windows. No one said anything for awhile and I began to feel like an intruder, the odd woman in their group of guys.

I looked down at my boots, still dripping snow and slush. “You should be wearing a hat. I never see you wearing one and tonight is going to be freezing they say.” I braved a look up at him through my hair.

He laughed, in a nice friendly way. “I like to freeze my head, keeps me thinking.” The other guys laughed a bit. One of them started making a joke about freezing something else and then stopped, kind of looking at me. I had the feeling he was a well trained married guy, careful what he said in mixed company. I grinned over at him. After that we had a steady conversation. The next stop came and I sat down with the guys. We talked about our jobs and car repairs and the coming Christmas holidays.

I didn’t realize it was just myself and Greg until the last guy left and we were the only two sitting there. It was too late to be ackward by then. We’d already been talking for half an hour and I knew his name.

“It’s really nice to meet you, Jane.” He said. “I thought about bumping into you or something for awhile but you looked like you didn’t really want to talk to anyone. Shows how easy it is to be wrong about people.” He smiled. “Would you like to go for a warming up coffee at the restaurant in the station before we head out?”

“I’d like that.” I said. “They have a really good hot chocolate. I bring my nephew over once in awhile on the weekends.”

We spent the next hour talking. Talking about everything under the sun it seemed. We talked as we got off the train, we talked as we had our hot chocolate and we talked until he noticed it was already after 8:00.

“I didn’t think it was so late. I can’t stay longer. We moved my Mother into a nursing home last week and I promised I would visit her tonight. They close the doors at 9:00.” He put cash on the table, enough for both drinks and a decent tip.

We walked out to the parking lot together. The snow had kept up, all the cars in the lot were coated in a thick layer of white.

“Could be a challenge just to find your car tonight.” I said.

“People coming on the late train will be stuck getting a cab home it looks like.” He pointed to where the snow was piled up from the plough, a huge mountain already. One of the cars was very close, at least a third of it was under the mountain. Why did it have to be my car?

I moaned, thinking about getting it out.

“That’s not your car is it, really?” He sort of laughed and grimaced at the same time.

“It sure is. I have a window scraper in the trunk. If I can get it open.”

“I think you will just have to leave it here. Do you have CAA so you can call them to tow it or something?”

“Yes, do you think they would come for something like this?” I asked, hopefully.

“Probably.” He said thinking. “What else can someone do when something like that happens. You can hardly wait for the Spring thaw.” He laughed and I had to laugh too, even though I seemed to be stuck without a car.

“I know we’ve just met but I could drop you off at home. I’m sure my Mother would understand if I’m late due to helping a lady in distress.”

How could I say no? Spend more time with Greg and get a ride home.

He parked in front of my building and held my hand, rubbing his thumb over my skin. He leaned over and kissed me then, a good kiss. I leaned in closer, took off my winter gloves and slid my hands up inside his coat, under his suit. I held him that way while he deepened the kiss. His heart beat against the palm of my hand.

“Jane…” He moaned, his breath feathering over my face. “I thought of so many things to say, to break the ice, to meet you. It was all so silly sounding when I looked at you.” He pulled back to look at my face close up, just a whisper away. “I really want to make love to you, tonight. I’ve thought about what you must look like under all those layers of clothes. I’ve thought about how much I want to feel your body pressed against mine.” He unbuttoned his coat and pulled it off.

I said nothing, I could hear my own breathing, heavy and fast and excited. I licked my lips. My fingers began working on the buttons of his suit jacket and then the shirt under it. “Jane, not here in the car. Let’s go somewhere at least warm where we can have some room and enough light to see each other.”

“We can go inside, to my place.” I felt so brazen, like a slut. But it was what I wanted and I had been sweet and shy a long time, spending too much time alone.

I would have liked more time, a long slow lovemaking. My clothes were off and on the floor before I had thought about how I should ask him about using a condom. He had one and had it on himself by the time we stepped into my bedroom. On the bed he ravished me, just as the fictional heros in a romance novel did. I never thought any of that was based on reality. Yet, it felt good, quick and fast and deep and penetrating. Even though it was over too soon I felt I had really been loved. My orgasm hung on for days and then the final release was shattering, thundering through my body. He rested beside me, our hearts still pounding and our breath not yet slowing down.

“Thank you.” I said, in a whisper.

He got up then and began pulling on his clothes. I was startled that he would be in such a hurry to leave after that. But, he did.

Almost like a real old fashioned date, I even got a good night kiss from him. He gave me his phone number and his email address. Pressing his business card into my hand he looked into my eyes and told me he really hoped I would call, tonight even. I said I would.

I did too, once I called CAA and heard them laugh over the phone about my snowbound car. The tow brought it to my house. He even made sure it started before he left. Said it happened a few times every winter and suggested I don’t park there just because it seemed like a good spot while there wasn’t any snow.

I had a hot shower and nuked something for a single girl’s dinner. Then I phoned Greg, or I would have. I couldn’t find the business card he had written on. Of course I looked everywhere it could possibly be, even a few places it really couldn’t have been. I was frustrated but at least I would see him on the train tomorrow.

I never did though. I tried to find him in town. I looked at the nursing homes in the area, I asked about any new women who had just moved in the past week. No luck. I wrote a list about every smallest thing I knew about him but each clue I followed up on ended up getting me nowhere.

It was a big mystery.

I stayed living in that small town and working downtown for a few years more. Eventually I met a guy and we married and had a few kids, three of them. We moved to his town. I created my own business from home, gift baskets. It did quite well. The kids grew up happy and my husband and I got along well. It was the white picket fence life, revamped for the digital age.

One day out of the blue I saw Greg again. He looked just the same. I was older, more than 15 years had gone by. But, there he was, the same. He was at the train station of all places. I had gone in to get a schedule for my sister who was planning to visit us. Greg was sitting on one of the benches.

I stopped, just looking at him, totally surprised. Life seemed to swirl around me and come back full circle. As if I had just stepped out to make a phone call and now I was back.

He turned and faced me. He smiled but it wasn’t the same. He recognized me but his look was rueful, as if he regretted something but could do nothing about it. Somehow my feet moved and I sat down beside him. My face felt kind of stiff and no words were coming to my mouth though plenty were spilling around in my mind.

“It’s nice to see you again, Jane.” He said, kindly, as you would speak to an old friend. “You look good, life seems to have treated you well.” He got up then and just started walking away. I turned to say something but he wasn’t there. Vanished. I sat there, stunned. The bus schedule I had been holding slipped from my fingers.

“You dropped this.” One of the station staff handed me back the schedule.

“Thanks” I muttered.

“Funny, you look like you’ve seen a ghost.” she smiled. “Funny, I took yesterday off work cause it was the anniversary of my brother’s death. He was killed by a drunk driver here, fifteen years ago.” She smiled again, “Did you see him? A nice tall bald guy in a suit? Always a smile for everyone.” She sighed, “I still miss him.”

She walked off in her own thoughts. I sat there awhile longer, remembering a young man I used to know from the commuter train.

Still Trying to Catch Up

I have updated BackWash, the journal/ column part and one of the newsletters. Not a great post for the newsletter, just another blab about Adsense which I have likely done too many times for it to be new and interesting. Two more newsletters to go there and I should do something for the communities. They say it’s all working again. I haven’t done much for BackWash in awhile.

I also want to get another post out for the LockerGnome blog. I have been keeping it almost daily, pretty good for a new blog. I don’t know what kind of traffic it will bring in. Maybe not much or maybe it will become a raging success. It’s entirely impossible. 😉

I also need to finish making a list of the damaged books for the insurance claim. Everyone seems to have different thoughts about that and how it will all work out. I don’t want all the books back and I doubt they are going to send someone of their staff out to purchase each and every book on my list. Likely it will be a cheque of some amount, based on the price of the books currently. I can easily spend money at the book store. Plus, there are some I do want to replace. I have another bag to take to the second hand bookstore but now I don’t have a local one. I will have to keep an eye out for something good around here. Maybe towards Scarborough since that would be an easier trip while carrying a bag of books. Or not. So much to find and figure out about living here.

I met someone new through Craigslist. We plan to meet for coffee/ tea on the weekend. I’m looking forward to it, only a little nervous. His name is Paul and he is in the area here too. It will be nice to meet someone, however it happens to turn out.

I’m making noodles with salsa tonight. More lazy than gourmet but they taste good.

The TV is on and working, I get two channels as it is: CBC and CTV.

Having Soup

There’s an exciting title. Still here; leaving soon. Bringing stuff downstairs to pack into the car. You know you’re really moving elsewhere when you strip your bed and don’t intend to put new sheets on it.

CanZine is on Sunday Maybe I will be able to go. Money is really tight but I will have a few bus tokens. Admission is only $5 and, other than coffee, I wouldn’t really need to buy anything else. I do need to get out to buy the bus pass so I could make a day trip out of the whole thing.

Haunted Hamilton…

I’m about to send this link to Rainy Pete, on the small chance he hasn’t already found it. I’ve been thinking about John from Hamilton several times over this family holiday weekend. So Hamilton was on my mind here and there.

It’s interesting about meeting people online, especially if there is any thought about dating them or getting together face to face even just to have coffee and see who looks goofier. (Pete will look goofier than me, I’m a grrl afterall).

Things were going nicely with John earlier this year, even though we never did meet. I really began to believe. I began to believe several things which I will just leave at that. Anyway, here we are. I last heard from him July 18th when he left off saying he would email me next week, he was missing me and our chats and was still hoping we would meet, in person. Yes, he had some health concern which came up but he seemed to be handling things and I really did feel I could trust him, take him at his word. I have had so many disappointments with men online and offline but I did think John would be different. Hope springs eternally sentimental. But, I’ve heard nothing at all from him in over two months now.

I have tried to track him down online but no luck. Today I even did something kind of underhanded and tried to crack his email password. I just wanted to know if he is just another guy who never intends to write back or did he somehow become deceased. You can’t really find that out about a person you only know online. Kind of an eerie feeling.

Anyway, have you ever felt really connected to someone you only met online and how far would you go if you just stopped hearing from them? Would you not bother or would you feel concerned and want to know what happened to them?

I am Hungry

If you could eat anything and not worry about your health in any way… what would you really eat? The whole meal, not just one thing.

I am cooking salt and pepper sausages which I plan to eat with ketchup. I can smell them cooking. But, if I could have anything at all, I would have a club sandwich with taco chips. Cabbage rolls and lasagna on the side. Then, chocolate, chocolate cheesecake. Along with really good coffee and my Mother’s peach pie. Top that off with vanilla storm ice cream. Maybe some onion rings in there somewhere too, but not the greasy kind.

No doubt there’s something I will think of later that I could have added to that list. But it does sound pretty good as it is.

Job Interview Tips

Things not to do in a job interview…

Stare right at them, directly in the eyes and don’t speak at all.

Shake their hand, pat them on the arm, lean in close to talk and then casually mention you’ve got a really bad cold.

Lock the office door before you sit down and tell her you want complete privacy for this interview.

Bring out your wallet and try to bribe him/ her with your McDonald’s coupon.

Pick your nose, or anything else body related.

Make jokes about the people in photos on his or her desk.

Tease the interviewer about her wardrobe choices and hairstyle.

Suggest you could do his/ her job but you’d need a big raise.

Talk to yourself, about yourself.

Go on and on about how great your blog is and how you really like to post pictures of your pet goldfish, Little Swimmer.

Chat about all your aches and pains and how you really hope the job’s benefits will kick in soon.

Talk to them while looking at something just past their head, never make eye contact, just a lot of near misses.

Shake their hand and suggest you beat them at arm wrestling next.

Tell them how you like your coffee and don’t mind to wait while they go get it for you.

Start the conversation by telling them about what an awful hangover you’ve got this morning.

Steal office supplies from his/ her desk.

Ask them why they’re still here at such a dull company, doing such a dead end job.

Offer up all your ideas for getting rid of bodies.

Ask them for personal information like a home address and phone number so you can call them every day to ask when you’re getting the job.

Squish a bug and offer them the remains so they can see that green goo coming out of it.

Hope this list helps someone. Good luck out there!

Blue and White Ceramics

I found two ceramic containers at GoodWill this week, one for flour and one for coffee. I love them. They have houses on them and are blue and white, a dresden look (if you have any idea what that is). Tonight I was poking around on Ebay and found a matching salt and pepper shaker. Wish I could get it. I still haven’t really test driven Ebay and I kind of forget what my login is/ was. Anyway, here is a picture of the shakers from Ebay.