I’m usually not the type to talk on the train.  I like a quiet ride.  Get on.  Ride to stop.  Get off.  I do a lot of reading on the train, and will talk to people I know, but rarely strangers.  It’s not that I’m a mean person or think I’m better than anyone.  I just don’t find it necessary to talk t o strangers.  Blame my parents for instilling that one in me.  But for every absolute there are exceptions.  I watched a man approach another man and strike up a conversation with him today on the train. I found myself recalling a similar situation that happened to me. That’s what this is about.

Few years ago,one spring afternoon, I had a doctor’s appointment. The visit was fine, and I boarded the train on my way home.  Per my usual habits, I opened a book and became engrossed in the whiny depression of Hamlet.  As the train lumbered on, I was only dimly aware that it would stop occasionally to let passengers off and let new ones on.  This was of no concern to me because my stop was the end of the line.  However, as the train moved out from the JFK/UMASS stop it became my concern.  I happened to look up as the train pulled off.  I saw the prettiest girl I’ve ever seen.

She was tall and firmly built.  She was wearing shorts and I remember thinking that her legs took forever to reach her waist.  She had a rich mahogany complexion and hair that fell to her upper back.  It was styled in mini braids that came undone purposefully at the ends.  Her eyes were a captivating light brown that radiated warmth.  She sat down next to me and the scent of cocoa butter wafted my way. I tried to go back to Hamlet, back to his non-action induced melancholy but for some reason it didn’t hold my attention like before.  I tried to focus, but it was to no avail.

“What are you reading?” she asked.

My heart quickened and I didn’t answer immediately.

“I… I’m sorry wh, what did you say?” I stammered.

She leaned closer and repeated herself.

“I said what are you reading?”

“Oh… uh Shakespeare.” I answered.

“I know that, which play?  Is that Hamlet?”

“Yeah, it is.  Do you, uh, do you like Shakespeare?”

“Yeah I love it.  Such good writing. It’s so beautiful and well crafted.” She replied.

“Yeah I know,” my intimidation melted away.  “It’s poetry and prose at the same time. The rhyme scheme is complex yet simple…”

“Wow, you must really like his stuff.” She cut me off which was fine because I was beginning to babble.

“I like it because it’s something to shoot for, you know.  Like if I can right that well then I know I’m good.” She added.

“Yeah…” I said.

“So do you write?  I do some poetry myself.  It helps me deal with stuff.”

“Yeah I write a little.  I’m more of a short story writer but I’ve done some poetry.” I replied.  She nodded and thought about this.

“What have you written so far?” she asked.

“Well… not much yet but I did a remake of the Odyssey.”

A puzzled look came over her face, and then she brightened.

“You mean the story of Odysseus’ travel home after the Trojan War right?”  that sounds cool how did you do it?” she asked.

I described to her the travels of Dashius and his companions Rickius Merittus, Jasonus Biggius and Dedricius Politus, and how these “warriors” made there way home from a “war of football” miles away from their homes.  She was delighted and asked me how I incorporated the many mythological beasts and witches that Odysseus encountered on his journey home.  We were so involved in the story that when Ashmont, the last stop on the train, came we didn’t even notice.

“ASHMONT, THIS TRAIN IS BEING TAKEN OUT OF SERVICE.  NO PASSENGERS.” The intercom squawked and brought us back to reality. She looked around as we both stood up.

“Well, this is me.” She said sheepishly.

“Yeah…” I said.

She gave me a hug, engulfing me in the scent of cocoa butter.

“I’ll uh, I’ll see you around.” She said.

“Yeah…” I replied.

She walked off and boarded a bus and waved at me as it pulled off.  I walked home with a huge grin I had met the prettiest girl and talked with her without any trouble.  I couldn’t wait to see her again.  Then it hit me.  I didn’t have her phone number, I didn’t know where she lived, I didn’t even know her name.  the last revelation hit hard.  I wasn’t smiling anymore.  I had met the prettiest girl and I let her walk away without any way to contact her.  I met the prettiest girl and she got away.