Forward Bound

He sees her just as she steps from the train platform into the car and without a second thought, he abandons his plans and follows her in. Her name is caught in his throat.

She takes a seat, and though he tries to pass by unnoticed in the crowd, their eyes connect. He sits down across from her, still lacking in words.

She is not.

She asks after his destination. Why hadn’t he told her he was traveling this way?

To each he gives a mumbled response. Says he’s going the same place as her; something about it slipping his mind.

She gives him a smile and adjusts her coat.

Why had he done this? Chased after this woman, of all people. Abandoned his meeting, his boss would give him hell. He asks something about her necklace, or maybe it was her bracelet. Something that would get her talking. Anything to avoid this silence.

She laughs and looks at it. Says it was a present from her sister. A going away present. A joke, really. Her sister had the same one and she’d always hated how it looked on her sister, but she always wears it when she’s away from home, now. Reminds her of her family.

What about him? She asks if he has any mementos from his family.

Only if you count his phone, he replies. He wishes he had something better than that. It was so boring compared to her story.

She doesn’t mind, though. She laughs that melodic laugh of hers and says that was even better, he could call them, at least. She says her phone’s microphone broke last month and she hasn’t had time to get a new phone yet.

He smiles. Looks down.

There’s a pause. It’s uncomfortable for him. She takes it in stride.

He asks if she wants to call her family on his phone.

Thank you, that’s so sweet, she said. But she wouldn’t want to inconvenience him.

He takes out his phone anyway and hands it to her. No words are necessary.

She smiles. Thanks him again. Then gets up and walks down the car a ways.

He sits in silence. Why did he think he had any reason to be here? He couldn’t be her type. They didn’t even know each other that well. She was moving away soon anyway, they probably wouldn’t be together very long even if she would go out with him.

His thoughts go by like snails. It feels like centuries pass before she returns, though it’s only been fifteen minutes.

She hands him back his phone. Thanks him again.

He quickly checks the time on his phone. Asks if she’s done talking to them so soon. He’s definitely late for the meeting.

She waves it off. She can call them at the hotel. She wanted to spend time talking to him. He wouldn’t always be around.

He puts on a mock British accent. Thanks her for deeming him worthy of her time, m’lady.

She replies in equally mock tone. He shouldn’t let it go to his head.

Another pause. This one is slightly longer, but they’re both smiling.

She says she’s parched from all that talking. She gets up to get some water.

When she gets back, he’s ready. He asks if she would go out with him, maybe dinner when they get there.



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