I stepped onto the train and out of the bitter winter wind, my best friend Jamie trailed behind me, talking incessantly. I sat down on a seat, shivering and rubbing my hands together for warmth, Jamie sat beside me as I took stock of the other passengers. A blonde-haired lady with too much red lipstick and sequined stilettos, an elderly, balding man reading a newspaper, and a group of junior high kids chatting about something I didn’t care for.
“Alex! Alex, are you even listening to me?” Jamie said, her limp hand smacked my chest. I turned to her and mimed agonizing pain. We both laughed and I apologized for having not paid attention.
Jamie had been my best friend since grade 4, she had chased me with safety scissors and cut off a sizable chunk of my hair. So the only obvious progression of events would be that we would become lifelong friends. Not exactly, but the friendship did develop after a meeting with the principal and our parents, and both her mother and mine decided that the best course of action was to trap us both in my house while our mothers drank coffee. I was afraid of her, understandably so as I was now had a misshapen haircut, and I wasn’t sure what sort of girl she was other than antagonistic. But she became my best friend, god knows how. And I couldn’t exist as I am without her.
“Anyways,” Jamie continued. “There’s this guy who I think you’d like. His name is Craig, he’s a really fun guy. I met him at a party last week and got his number. Turns out he swings both ways and isn’t interested in me, can’t imagine why not, but I think you two might have fascinating relations-” Jamie was cut off by the train lurching forward, beginning it’s trek when a man fell on his face in the aisle just beside us. He groaned in pain and I got out of my seat to help him to his feet.
“Are you alright, sir?” I asked, as the man groaned and pinched his nose. A small trickle of blood flowing over his lip.
“Sir, eh?” the man laughed as he flopped into the seat in front of mine, “I don’t think I’ve ever been called ‘sir’ by such a cute kid.” He winked, running a heavily ringed hand through his black hair. He looked to be in his late 30’s and he was quite handsome. His skin was light brown and he had dark stubble that dotted his jaw, and I felt my breath catch in my throat as his blue eyes met mine.
“I-I um” I stammered, then broke into a fit of nervous giggles. What’s wrong with me, I thought. Why can’t I just speak without feeling so nervous? I’m making a fool of myself
“You’re adorable,” he chuckled. “Well, thanks for your help kiddo.” He smiled, then pulled out his phone and that was the end of that interaction.
Jamie snatched her phone from her purse and types something out, I knew she was texting me so I glanced at my Jamie: Well yeah, you kinda shot yourself in the foot there bud. But it’s good to get yourself ‘out’ there and have some fun! I mean seriously! You’re 22, do you want to be playing sexual catch up for the rest of your life?
She giggled. I sighed and leaned back on the seat and closed my eyes. She doesn’t understand, I thought. She doesn’t get how difficult it is to be me sometimes.
“Aaanyways! Back to Craig,” Jamie was obviously annoyed at being ignored by me so I, begrudgingly, gave her my attention while being painfully aware of the man sitting across from me. “What do you think? Do you want me to arrange a meetup for you two? You could hang out, get his number and see where things go?”
“Okay, Jamie, thanks for the help but I’m really okay.” I jerked my head in the direction of Mr. Tall, Dark and Handsome, and she got the message.
As the train sped from station to station, I began to wonder what it would be like to be out to everyone. I wondered how many would accept me, and how many wouldn’t. What would my parents think or do after I told them? The train stopped at the next stop and Jamie got off. As Jamie passed, she shot me a worried look as she glanced at the man, who had dove into a book a few stops back, and waved goodbye with a smile. Once Jamie was gone, the man closed his book and cleared his throat to get my attention. I sat up and leaned forward, resting my forearms on my knees. He flashed his perfect teeth before speaking.
“Listen kiddo, I’m on my way to a friend’s house to help her set up for a small get together. It’s just in the apartment complex on 14th street if you are interested? We could talk some more and you could meet other people like us and make connections?”
I was taken aback. A man, someone I’d only just met, was inviting me to a party being hosted by someone I didn’t know how to make connections with other people “like us”?
Was this his way of trying to get to know me and making me feel more comfortable with who I am? I was intrigued by the mystery.
“Like us? I don’t get it.”
His mouth quirked and I felt my heart race.
“I think you know exactly what I mean”
I blushed and his eyes lit up, and I knew it would at least be an interesting experience.
“Um, sure, sounds good I guess.”
“Great! Here, give me your number so I can text you the address and what time you should come by.” He handed me his phone, I added my number into his contacts and handed it back.
The train stopped at yet another station and he rose out of his seat. I felt a twinge of sadness as he left. Just before he exited the train car, he shot me a wink with those gorgeous blue eyes that made me blush.
As soon as I got home I tore through my closet for something to wear and chose a form-fitting red t-shirt and black jeans. As I normally arrived home before my parents, I popped down into the kitchen and grabbed the bottle of red wine that my mother had left on the counter for a while, and so I assumed she must have forgotten about it.
I glanced at my phone and saw a text from an unknown number.
Unknown: Hey kiddo, it’s Brent. 14th street, Cider Bend, you’ll see the apartment complex, the number is 319, I’ll buzz u in. Can’t wait to see u!
I smiled as I read his text. He was excited to see me and, truth be told, I was excited to see him too. I took a couple of deep breaths before slipping on my puffy winter jacket and walking out into the night.
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