Passing Ships

Rajiv Chowk Metro Station

Delhi

8:30am

My heart pounded as the queue slowly inched to the security metal detector.

Damn that alarm. First day on the job, can’t be late.

The machine beeped when I passed it the same as it beeped for everyone else. The cop gave me a cursory frisking and sent me on. I jogged down to the platform, just in time to see the train slip past me into the tunnel. The display announced the next one in five minutes.

I paced the platform. I tried to breathe deeply like my mother said I should to calm down, but that didn’t help. The platform began to fill up with passengers again.

That was the moment I felt my life could change forever. There one sight, that was all it took. About fifteen yards away, she stood there. I had never seen her before, but I could stand there and look at her forever.

She wore tight blue jeans and a pink pull-over on which her curly hair cascaded in apparent disarray. My thoughts were in a jumble.

Check your tie, are your shoelaces tied properly? Stand up straight, don’t slouch. Above all, look natural.

I gazed down at my shoes, when I looked up, she was looking directly at me. Not behind me, not beside me, but directly at me. She smiled. At that instant, I was sure, somehow she felt for me. A strange sort of telepathy seemed to have occurred. I had to act.

Go up to her? Then what? What if she thinks I am a creep? Tell a joke, break the ice? What jokes? Don’t remember anything more than WhatsApp forwards. Do something dammit, the moment is passing!

My thoughts were interrupted as the train pulled in and a flood of passengers streamed out between us. I felt propelled forward by the rush of passengers behind me. Before I knew it I was inside the coach, with my face pressed against a stranger’s arm.

No not now! Fight it. If its for real she would have felt it too. Go now.

I shoved for the door. I pushed aside a harried delivery boy and sent his parcel to the floor. I finally exited a second before the doors closed to the curses of those I left inside.

Would she be there? Please God let her be there.

She was there.

The smile on her face was the sweetest thing I have ever seen and her eyes were filled with indescribable love for her husband who had just stepped out of the train.

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