Jeremy lay immobile in his bed. He was tired. He blinked his eyes in the muted light that was filtering in through the smeared window, he made no effort to keep them open and they drooped back down. He had nowhere to be, no one to meet, no urgency in his day, so he slept longer. Why are they always screaming, kids, why do parents let them scream, do they just give up, or don’t care, probably some nimrod that thinks it’s letting the kid express itself. He reluctantly admitted that it was time he got up, he felt a sense of guilt, but from where or for what he was unsure, but it made him get up, plus that infuriating kid that wouldn’t shut up.
Jeremy made it to the metro after an unnecessarily drawn out morning routine. He supposed he’d go to the market, the only place he enjoyed in the city; it didn’t need the preparation of a proper outing, but still felt like sufficient activity to while away a day. Also he needed socks.
Angela sprinted towards the train, she squeezed through the doors, just as they were closing. Made it. She scanned the compartment, spotted Jeremy. Jeremy was staring blankly out the window, then focused his gaze at the floor. Angela studied his movements, but they ended there. She became intrigued by his look, his unkempt attire, crumpled and stained, his stubble and sparse hair sticking whither to out of his toque. He appeared detached, disinterested in this earth, as if he had long ago transcended material things. Angela knew it was fate that they should encounter each other, she had barely made this train, and out of all the compartments they both ended up on this one. She was sure he would agree. He was probably into Buddhism or some other eastern religion, or spiritual on a level that was beyond labels such as religion. He no longer cared about earthly appearances, he was aware of a superior purpose for our bodies then as mere portrayers of shallow fashions. Although he did have potential, with a bit of a scrub and maybe a proper diet he could be quite handsome. She noticed a square shaped bulge in his jacket, he must be an avid reader, most likely he’s off to buy the latest edition of some scientific journal he’s following, or maybe an obscure title has been discovered at the second hand shop that has long been overlooked, only he having the patience and insight to appreciate its worth. In his humble dwelling he’s sure to have shelves stacked with tomes on every subject, he could have an intelligent conversation on any topic, but needs to be coaxed, because he is modest and uncomfortable that his knowledge far surpasses those around him. Or perhaps it’s a notebook, he’s working on a novel about the human struggle and is constantly drawing from real life experiences he’s witness to, seeing the depth and beauty in the everyday occurrences of life. Or maybe it’s a sketchpad. He sits in cafés and produce perfect renderings of the waitresses. The homely looking one, long forgotten, treated as a servant to do the biddings of her customers, never receiving any signs of appreciation. On leaving he would place it under his mug to be discovered as she clears away his dishes, she’d keep it secretly in her brassiere as a reminder of the value of her existence that someone took time to acknowledge.
At the next stop a seat cleared next to him, she shoved her way in front of an elderly woman who was ambling towards that direction; no one was messing with her destiny. She sat next to him, she held her breath, then exhaled slowly, she regulated her breathing, she needed to appear natural, coy even. He emitted a heavy odor of smoke. She was aware that many intellectuals were prone to smoking, it helped them with the creative process. She of course would convince him to quit. She wouldn’t do it in a forceful manner, or give him the impression that she wanted him to change. She’d just make him realize that it was for his own good, and because she cared about his well-being. She tried to appear mysterious, but was unsure how to exactly convey mysteriousness, she glanced to the side and up, as if deep in mysterious thought and to escape the off putting smell. Jeremy continued to stare at the floor. She uncrossed her leg and gently pressed her right knee into him, she became flushed at the contact. He’ll need a muse, inspiration when he goes through slump periods, someone to inspire him to carry on when the weight of the world lies heavy on his soul.
Her stop was coming up, it would be a sign if he got off at the same stop, there had already been the initial sign of their first encounter, one more was all she needed for guaranteed proof of their shared fate. She turned to look at him, he as yet failed to notice her, deep in thought most likely, or maybe he has noticed her but is too shy to speak. She’d make it easier for him.
“What does it all mean, back and forth, back and forth on this train, where is everyone going, does it even matter?” She spoke softly in his general direction.
Jeremy made no sign of acknowledgment. Perhaps he’s deep in thought. She waited. Maybe he didn’t hear. She waited another minute, just to ensure that he wasn’t being particularly pensive on his response.
She nudged him gently, to make sure he noticed this time, the look he gave her appeared rather annoyed. She hadn’t expected this hostility.
“Uh, where is everyone going… ?”
“ I’m not sure I follow.”
“You know, like, what’s the point of this journey, back and forth, back and forth all the time, does it matter?”
He shook his head and returned his gaze to the floor. You always meet nutters on the train, he considered moving, but there weren’t any other seats and he didn’t feel like standing.
Maybe she had been too vague in her attempt at profundity. Her stop was approaching; he made no sign of movement. Maybe he didn’t realize this was his stop. Jeremy glanced up at the sign, then back down at the floor. Angela was uncertain at how to best fulfill the star’s biddings, she promised to meet her sister and was already late. Her sister was already pissed off at her for bailing that last time, but she had been waiting for a phone call she was sure she was supposed to receive. If we’re supposed to be together fate will find a way, but she was beginning to grow weary of how long fate was taking to arrange things for her, maybe it needed a little assistance. She rummaged through her bag, everything personal was on her phone, she’d need a bit more assurance of its return before using it as a prop in destiny. She flipped through the cards in her wallet, she wished she worked somewhere where business cards were necessary, maybe she should look into getting personal ones, does that come off as desperate? SIN card? Could be a problem if it landed in the wrong hands. Library card? No one would bother to return that. Care Card? She could do without that for a few days, there’s not much someone can do with that, she didn’t think anyways, has my full name, he will probably take it upon himself to return it personally. The doors opened, she dropped it on the floor right in front of where he was staring and squeezed out just before the doors shut. Peter came over to occupy the seat Angela had vacated, before doing so he picked up the card he had noticed laying in front of Jeremy.
“This yours mate?
Jeremy glanced over, “No.”
Peter took another look at the card and chuckled to himself, “Guess not eh, not unless your name is Angela.”
Jeremy partially turned his head towards Peter then back out the window.
“You see who dropped it?”
Jeremy shook his head and grunted.
“Well I bet she’ll be needing this, hopefully later rather than sooner,” Peter snorted, unsure whether that expression could be used in reverse like that, “I’ll drop it off at the ticket counter at my next stop.” Noticing that his audience had lost interest he tucked the card in his pocket. He forgot to hand it in to the ticket counter, and only remembered a couple days later when he wore that particular jacket again and noticed the foreign object in his pocket.
Jeremy got off a couple stations later, glad for his personal space after sitting next to too many fellow commuters unaware that bodily boundaries should continue to apply, even when in confined spaces. Jeremy wandered around the market for a couple hours, bought some things he didn’t need, not urgently anyways, ate too much cheap stall food, it’s convenience being too tempting, then felt annoyed at having spoiled his appetite for a proper meal once dinner time came. He sat in a coffee shop for an hour, picked through a magazine that was sitting there, Interior Design of Sweden, and searched the internet on his phone. He decided that he had spent sufficient time out of the house and he could now return home for an hour or so before going out again to get pissed. Maybe he’d get drunk enough tonight that he’d have an excuse to lay in bed all day tomorrow recovering.