It’s a train. I find myself on trains pretty often, so that I’m one today is not surprising, what with it being time for me to go home and all. And so I am peering around a sort of empty early evening train, looking for a place to sit, hoping for a forward-facing seat free of litter that isn’t going to be in anyone else’s space.
Yeah, I’m fussy.
Anyway, there’s a young lady sitting near the door I came in through. She’s reading a book but I don’t notice, until after I’d sit down somewhere else, that she moved her bag and made a space next to her. Now I am of course tormented by a question: was she making a space for me? Or did she just think I looked like someone who might grab her bag and start running? Because if the former, by golly, I should go and start a conversation. She turned, and looked at/past/around me, which is just more fuel for my tormented fire. Was that an it’s-okay-you-can-talk-to-me glance, or a you-look-a-bit-suss-I-liked-this-train-much-better-without-you glance? (Or, as is frankly more likely, an is-it-just-this-half-of-the-train-that’s-empty? glance). I looked back at her, hoping to get a hint from these choreographed glances, and then a surprising thing happened.
She got up and moved from her seat to one adjacent to mine. Now, the probability that she’s inviting a conversation just shot waaaay up. I never know if it’s creepy to start a conversation with a girl on a train or not; but if there are times when it’s not, this is one of them. I start turning words over and around in my mind, trying to find a suitable way to start the conversation, a way that will let her opt out of the conversation easily but interest her enough that she won’t want to. Finally the words lined up, and I prepared to attempt to start the conversation.
Then she moved to the end of the train.