Rissa was dreaming of the hot Hawaiian sunshine when she felt a sudden crisp morning chill penetrate the warmth of her coat. A deep, gravelly voice further interrupted her pleasant thoughts saying, “I think this is your stop.” She forced her eyes open and realized that the line of people exiting the train had already poured onto the platform.
“Oh goodness,” she said, grabbing at her belongings, trying to clear the fogginess from her brain.
“Hold the door,” the man said, offering a smile and the wool hat she had just dropped. “I should have nudged you earlier. Better hurry,” he urged.
As Rissa was racing out the door, the train pulled away and she realized she hadn’t the chance to thank him.
Rissa’s commute began early every morning. It took over an hour to get from her house to her office on the train, but she enjoyed the extra reading time the commute provided, and she appreciated avoiding the heavy traffic and icy roads. Normally she read, but yesterday she had been tired. It had taken mere seconds before she drifted to sleep. She nearly missed her stop.
This morning she juggled two piping hot chocolates and her laptop bag, hoping she would see her champion to properly thank him. She hoped that she would remember what he looked like. Rissa wished her hands weren’t full so we could concentrate on reading, instead she was distracted every time the train stopped letting in a waft of cold air and a crowd of new faces. Finally, a face sparked her memory, and he seemed to remember her, too.
“Good morning,” he said, looking down at the hot chocolate in her hands. “Is that for me?”
“I wasn’t sure I’d see you again,” she admitted. “But just in case, I wanted to thank you for yesterday.”
He took the cup of hot chocolate from her, offering a small salute with his cup, “You’re welcome. I was afraid that after you thought about it, you would find it creepy that I knew your stop.”
“I hadn’t thought of that, but now that you mention it…” she trailed off and grinned. “Really, though, I’m grateful. I’m Rissa.” She pulled out a business card and offered it to him.
“Greg.” He grabbed the seat across from her and smiled as he tucked her card into his breast pocket, then pulled out his own.
“How did you know it was my stop?” Rissa asked after a moment.
“I don’t know if I should admit that.”
She gave an encouraging look.
“Alright,” he conceded, taking a breath. “A couple of weeks ago, I noticed a beautiful woman reading one of my favorite books. I immediately wanted to strike up a conversation about it, but she left the train before I found the nerve.” He nodded at the book sticking out of her bag. “Every day she got closer to the end, I knew I needed to make a move. Yesterday, I finally got the nerve to sit beside her, only to find that she wasn’t reading…she was sleeping.”
“Not as disappointing as you might think,” he admitted, “because it provided me with a perfectly good reason to speak to you today.”
Rissa sat back in her chair, studying Greg. He seemed sincere. Not only was he handsome, but he was friendly and personable.
“So this is your favorite book?”
They spent the rest of her commute sipping hot chocolate and discussing the book until he said gently, “This is your stop.” He got to his feet, handing over her laptop bag as she adjusted her coat.
“See you tomorrow?”
“Definitely,” he said.
The morning commute quickly became Rissa’s favorite part of the day. She often saved Greg a seat and they spent the morning talking. Their conversations ranged from the mundane to the ridiculous and everything in between.
“I’ll save you a seat, tonight,” he said with a smile.
Rissa was surprised, as she knew they did not take the same train home. But when Rissa boarded their usual car, Greg grinned at her. He was standing in the aisle and pointed to a single available window seat. She noticed that his normal place next to her was occupied by a mother, holding her baby.
“This train is busier than the one I normally take,” he commented, smiling at the sleeping child and then at Rissa.
They rode for several stops in silence, catching each other’s eyes while listening to the bustle of the other passengers. Occasionally he grinned at her, and she couldn’t help but return it.
“Will you have dinner with me tonight?” He finally said.
“Then this is our stop.”
Rissa smiled. She liked the sound of that. He offered her his hand and they left the train together.