It was on a bitterly cold day in late November that I saw her for the first time, on the train I had recently been riding. The company I worked for had moved. Conveniently located for me than before, because I could almost go from house to house by train. The train station close to my house and the stop that meant a short walk to my place of work. If none of this had happened, I probably would never have met her. But on that day in November, I saw her and was immediately enchanted. Wrapped in a long black coat that did not hide the fact that she was slim. Everything about her seemed gentle, graceful, soft, and warm, especially the long, dark hair and the melancholic eyes that appealed to me.
Out of the corner of my eye, not directly of course, I watched her while appearing to be reading my book calmly and with concentration. So, I could see that she too took a book out of her large purse to delve into it. I couldn’t make out the title since she had it open, but it was definitely an old book. Antiquarian I assumed. Which I also liked very much. Where do you think she came from? She got on two stations after me. There was a small town, the next but one to mine, so not far away. Still impossible to find them there. And where was she going? That was even more difficult, because when I started to get out, she stayed seated. Apparently, she kept going. But where? There were five stations after mine. She could get off at anyone of them.
Then the weekend came because it was a Friday when she first saw. It had only been that one time and yet she dominated my thoughts during those two days that I didn’t drive to work and accordingly didn’t see her. My imagination painted all sorts of scenarios. That she lived alone, in a small, cramped apartment, lonely and abandoned. Or that she had a house and a large family. They would go ice skating in the cold. Or sledding. Then they would drink tea or hot chocolate. Or that she lived in a flat share and pursued her hobby at the weekend. E.g., painting or photography or dancing. Line dancing would suit her. And what do you think she was working on? Anything that matched her grace. Goldsmith maybe or bookbinder. Hence the antiquarian book. Then the weekend was finally over, and I actually saw her again. Luckily, not many people ever rode this train. So, I was able to take the place that I already had on Friday. I was worried for two stations. What if it was just a one-time thing that she rode that train? Maybe this time she just had something to do in the place she’d gone to. I had been so sure for the past two days that I would see her again that I hadn’t allowed myself to think otherwise. But suddenly it was there. What if it was my first, only and last chance to talk to her, to meet her? Why am I so reserved and shy? Anyone else would have grabbed the opportunity immediately, because what could happen other than being rebuffed. This journey from the station where I boarded the train and the one where she boarded it took only ten minutes. It was enough to throw me completely off balance. In the end I was certain that I had finally lost her. Even though I hadn’t even spoken to her. How I breathed, what relief flowed through me when she actually got in and actually took the same seat as on Friday. Her gaze even lingered on me for a moment and a restrained smile played around her lips. It was for me, that smile. Only then did she turn her attention back to her book. I was so blissful, so thoroughly happy that day that I was convinced it couldn’t get any better. I was wishless, now and also for some time afterwards. It was enough for me to see her, take the smile with me and return it. That’s all it needed. But man cannot endure happiness. He’s always thinking about whether there might not be something more instead of being content with the permanent. That’s what happened to me, too, when the desire to get to know her began to stir in me.
Go to part 2 here.