“Oh goodness, yes!” Her eyes lit up. “I have been since I was a little thing. My first…” Her sentence interrupted by the conductor. “Castle Hill Avenue next” He announced. Disappointment washed over her face as she watched him gather his bags in his hand. The talk was a delight and it just began. He pursed his lips with a sigh. “Sorry. This is my stop…” He said, sadly.
“I enjoyed our talk; you have a wonderful evening…” She stopped. She realized they never introduced themselves. “Owen…I enjoyed meeting you..?”
“Well. Agnes, I guess we’ll have to finish this some other time…bye” He waved and walked out the door. Agnes, lifted her glasses above her head, smiled and followed him down the platform with her eyes. Once the train left in station, she opened her book and continued reading.
Owen nearly ran into a pole looking back at the car where Agnes was sitting. With each step down the stairs, he smiled a little more…
Exhausted from standing on the long lines and shopping, Owen rushed down the stairs to the platform only to be met by hordes of hot, sweaty bodies.
“6 train arriving in one minute,” the automated voice rang out. No chance of sitting today, he thought. The train rushed into the station with a gush of steaming heat ahead of it. A few strands of blond hair streamed across Owen’s face, like microscopic ribbons, from the woman in front of him. When the doors opened, the herd of humans poured out of the doors stampeding all who stood in their way. Though he stepped to the side, he couldn’t avoid the smearing of lotions, perfume, sweat and dirt he received. Owen looked down at his shirt, took a deep breath, clutched his bag handles tight, then pressed on his pocket to crank up his music and stepped into the car, then assumed his position as the next sardine in the can.
He tried his best to ignore the tourist with their camera phones, maps, backpacks and bewildered looks…but he couldn’t. Especially since a group of acrobats were standing on his feet, crushing his bags, had their map in his face and elbows extended, taking pictures and all without missing a beat. Lord, I’m about to lose my religion! he thought.
At that very moment he looked through the window of the next car and saw…What’s her name again? Agnes! That’s it!” The thought calmed his heart and made him smile. The train passed through Manhattan and entered the Bronx, he finally got a seat but when he looked through the window, the woman was gone. Did I imagine it? he thought.
Three weeks later, while seated in the corner seat, he noticed her sitting next to him in the next car in the same seat; she was reading a book. She ran he fingers through her hair then turned the page. Agnes looked up briefly to see Owen in the car beside her. She was puzzled for a moment as to why a man was staring at her. Then she remembered…she smiled at him, and then continued reading but the warm smile remained with her for a few more stops.
Two weeks later, juggling 2 bags full of melons, pineapples and peaches, Owen shot down the subway stairs and crashed into a wave of straphangers coming up. “Excuse me…excuse me!” he announced. But the current was too strong. He was struck mid-way, being pushed to and fro. He reached the bottom just as the train left the station. “@#@!,” he slumped back against the column and dropped his bags.
“Uptown 6 train arriving in 1 minute,” the machine voice called. He inhaled deeply and stepped dangerously close to the edge of the platform. His t-shirt waved across his chest as the hot breeze entered the station before the train. Owen closed his eyes and imagined himself standing on a beach. When the train stopped, he opened his eyes to see Agnes sitting inside. Stepping into the train, he immediately chuckled. “It’s you again.” She blushed and raised her hand to her mouth, covering her delight at his remark. “So, are you on a lunch break? It was noon.
“No, silly thing,” she giggled. “I’ve long since retired. Maybe I’m looking for you.”
A serious look fell on his face. “Really…?” There was a long pause.
Taken from “The Pelham Affair”