The train was moving slowly. She had six more stops to go but she didn’t mind, she loved trains. Her favorite bit about them was that after a while all of the faces that she saw began to blur together. It was like seeing the entire human race on fast forward while she stayed invisible. She liked the feeling of blending into the background like a chameleon, she could feel people’s eyes slide right over her, only noticing that the seat she was sitting in was taken. She loved the metro.
The train was coming slowly. He needed to get there quickly. He had to pass 4 more stations once the train arrived. He didn’t like trains. He disliked how everyone became invisible once they stepped onto the carriage. He liked being able to people watch but it was too difficult on the train. No one had expressions, not like on the streets where everyone was in a hurry. He always walked but today he had to take the train because he had run out of time.
The door opened and the regular flood of faces rushed out, then a fresh flood of equally monotonous faces rushed in. Wait. Not all of them were just boring faces. She saw him first. He was… different. Not just a face.
The train was finally there, and he impatiently boarded and sat down. Once the train started to move, he looked around. He saw her first. She was beautiful. She was not expressionless. She seemed alive.
She watched him under her lashes. He was sitting across and to the left of her. He was confident in a way she could never be. He was mesmerizing.
He tried to discreetly look at her, not too often or she would see it, but he couldn’t seem to help himself. She was captivating.
She pretended to be texting her friend. It was a cover, to pause and look around, like she was thinking of what to say. She was, but not to her friend.
He saw her take out her phone and felt his heart drop. She probably was talking to her boyfriend, a guy who was handsome and popular and treated her like a queen. He probably held no appeal for her. He wasn’t anything special. He was suddenly ashamed of his boring, basic blue jeans and old, printed tee shirt. She probably thought he looked like an unappealing mess and he couldn’t blame her, he could even agree with her! She was probably the envy of all the girls and if she wasn’t, she ought to be. She was stunning. Her eyes were bright and alert as she looked around the carriage trying to find something to say to her friend, her boyfriend. Her cheeks were flushed with the cold and of course this meant that her nose was bright red as well, but he liked that. He thought she was perfect.
She never knew jeans and an old tee shirt could look so put together on a boy. The boys at her school looked like a mess compared to this guy. She never knew brown eyes could be so handsome either. His were amazing. She only caught a glance of them, she looked away quickly so he didn’t think she was staring, but that was enough. Looking at him made her blush. She was suddenly aware that her nose must be terribly red and runny and blushed all the harder.
He checked the stops, only two more. The person next to her had left and the seat was still free. Should he go over and sit next to her? Too late. A man with a tired expression and a heavy looking bag dropped himself down next to her. She would probably have thought he was weird anyways, maybe even creepy.
She saw him looking at the seat next to her. No, that wasn’t it. He was looking at the ad above the seat. Why did she let herself think that? It didn’t make sense anyways. He wouldn’t want to sit next to her; he probably hadn’t even noticed her.
He wanted to go over and talk to her, introduce himself or something, but he didn’t know how.
She wanted to go over and talk to him, introduce herself or something, but she didn’t know how.
He wanted this train ride to last forever, to give him more time to work up his courage. This train was moving much too quickly. His stop was almost there. He was almost out of time.
She had never thought about when he was getting off; he might be getting off soon and her slim chance would be lost forever. She wished that she was brave enough to cross those 3 steps and say hello. She was. She would. She started to get up.
It was his stop. He was out of time. He got up and walked to the doors. He did not look back. He would probably never see her again, but that was okay. She hadn’t noticed him anyways.
She was out of time. She watched him get up and walk away. He didn’t look back. She sat back down. She would probably never see him again, but that was okay. He hadn’t noticed her anyways.
Julia Gilstrap, Age 15, Grade 9, Columbia Grammar-Prep School, Honorable Mention