All I could think about was how to survive the week while I lugged my tired body back from work. Scrunched between two burly ladies with my face nearly shoved into the belly of another jelly being, I could not have been the cheerful self that I’m famous for. There was no way any happy thought could have managed to pursue its way through those sandwiched bodies inside the tiny metro compartment. The noises were loud. The smells were musty. Happy thoughts do not venture in such regions. They avoid and disappear. Poof! Did someone just fart near me or was that the last bit of happy thought leaving my aura?
I sat on my seat and waited to reach somewhere; talked to myself and almost started an argument. My head hung low and my conscience tried to focus on the music that was playing in my earphones. It would have taken more than a ‘nuclear fusion gone wrong’ for me to lift my head and look anywhere other than the train floor. Not that the train floor had the best view at that moment. There was a dried orange peel, a toffee wrapper and some ugly feet that kept me occupied for a while. But something managed to pull my attention and made me look up. I took a last look at the hundreds of faces that occupied the metro compartment. Each face had a story to tell, but I was hardly interested in listening. Breezing across the countless faces, my eyes stopped at one.
I must have imagined a huge Buddhist gong go ‘Bong!’ in my head at that very moment. Time stopped. Smells disappeared. The music in my ears faded into a vacuum. There stood in all her glory a woman so attractive that she hardly felt human. Short hair, bony face, round deeply set doe-like eyes and the perfect lips. There was no smile on this face but it promised happiness. Those high cheekbones were capable of carrying a winsome smile to those twinkly black eyes. I had never seen her smile before and yet I could feel my heart skip a beat when I pictured her breaking into one.
My eyes slowly trailed down to her neck. Slender and long that disappeared into a possibly beautiful collar-bone which was irritatingly hidden by the collar of her shirt. She was so lost in her book while her short hair flirted with her face. That’s when I almost smiled at her beautiful fingers that were trying to tame her hair. I also noticed the shiny silver ring she wore on her finger. That’s when I took a break from gawking at her. Took a quick glance at my own hands and played a little with my silver ring. The train floor suddenly seemed so boring.
She was so thin yet so strong. She had broad shoulders that framed her bust. There was a sense of accomplishment in that face - a confidence that could not have been acquired at birth. She had earned it. She had earned that attitude and that peace with which she stood against a pole and read a book in the middle of chaos. She was not the kind who would use the fact of being a woman as an excuse. She exploited it. She suddenly looked up and my heart skipped a beat again - this time with the fear of getting caught staring at her.
I heard the train announce my station name and something sunk inside me. The moment was about to pass. I had to leave this perfect moment and go back to my world of lesser adventure. I didn’t even get time to find out what her name was. She didn't know me. Time was running out and I forced myself to get up from my seat. The moment before this, my being didn't even care to be recognized. I never wanted to exist; I just wanted to be present. As I ruffled a few feathers around me and got up from my seat, something travelled across those million faces and brushed against that beautiful face. She looked at me. She kept looking and didn't even blink. We maintained eye contact for what seemed like a lifetime and I almost felt naked at that moment. Did she know? Was she aware the whole time? It couldn't possibly be. I started walking towards the door and took one last glance at her. The object of my admiration was still staring at me! Had the roles suddenly reversed? I may have unintentionally slipped her a smile because I almost saw her break into one. But before I could ravish myself in her smile, the crowd pushed me out of the door and I was left standing on the platform in no time. I struggled to look back through the window to catch a last glimpse of what could have been. But she disappeared within seconds as the train started to move.
I stood there on the platform trying to compose myself and prepared to walk out of the station. This time my heart was heavier than before. It was like losing a part of me that was good. A part of me that was promising. A part that screamed out happiness. A part that was gone! As I reached the exit of the metro station, my lover received me with a hug and a kiss on my cheek. I managed to give a faint smile when he said, “My my! Don’t you look pretty today! I wouldn't mind waiting a lifetime for a girl like you.” We walked away together in silence with his eyes constantly on me; adoring me the same way, like I did a few minutes back in that little compartment of pure bliss.