A voice echoes in the compartment. We’re having a 15-minute delay. I can hardly hold out any longer. Two more minutes and I’ll probably start biting my nails. Two more minutes, and it’ll get worse. I really fucking hope this train stops soon. I really wish there wasn’t a ban on smoking on trains. I really wish I could quit. Or maybe I really wish I would just keep find excuses not to. Who cares? Just get me off this train. The lady opposite me is trying to hide it, but I can tell that she’s been watching me throughout the whole ride, turning her head away whenever I looked back. Her gaze is piercing and judgmental, as if she’s trying to make me feel guilty for something.
“Excuse me,” I say to her quietly. I point my shaky hand to her fat left cheek. “You have a, uh…” I then gesture to my own cheek and start scratching, hoping she’d catch on that there’s something on her face. And she catches on. Now I can relax for at least a moment without the need to worry about some old hag silently judging me for God-knows-what.
After what seems like an eternity, the train finally stops. I get up and pull on my cloak in a hurry. One of the many boons of travelling light is that I can leave the train really fast, since there’s no luggage to slow me down. I get out of the car in what can be described as an almost-leap. It’s hard to contain the excitement.
My hands shake as I flick the lighter on. The gentle sizzle when the flame finally touches the cigarette is music to my ears. I close my eyes. My lips close on the cigarette, embracing it like an old friend that they haven’t seen for years. I breathe in and life starts to have meaning again. I open my eyes to finally see the coldness around me. The platform is covered in a thin layer of fresh snow, the frosty panes of the train’s windows are almost opaque. I can feel a breeze behind me, accompanied by a painful noise. And so my train was gone, but I didn’t feel like moving at all. The train in front of me starts to move.
Then I notice something. A person, barely glimpsed in the corner of my eye. A woman. A breathtaking piece of art. She makes her way across the tracks to the platform in front of me, by the looks of it. Her thick black hair bouncing off her big cloak that did little to cover her long legs in aggressively red high-heels, as she keeps walking, dragging her suitcase behind her. Her lips are just as red, vivid as blood on her white, porcelain-like face. She glances in my general direction, but pays me little mind. That one look, though, is enough for me to want her. Those chocolate eyes with eyelashes that seem to beckon me closer. I almost move, but the smoke keeps me there. Someday, I think. I feel a chill on my face. I bury it deeper into my scarf. The girl disappears behind the train. Maybe, someday.
It’s me and the smoke, and the chill, yet again. Another whiff, another surge of warmth. I am drowning in bliss. I picture the girl, I can see myself take off that cloak, caress those legs. The train moves away in a heartbeat, and I see her again. She has her back to me, the cloak dominating the whole picture this time. I can imagine how warm she must be now. How safe it must feel, being with her. She’s probably seeing someone already, though. I don’t think you get dressed like that for a family visit. I wonder if she has children. She looks my age, so that’s more than old enough to have kids. I bet she’d make a great mother. Someday.
Her train comes. She starts walking towards it. But then I notice she left her suitcase by the bench.
“Excuse me, miss!” I shout. I drop my cigarette. Now or never. “You forgot something!”
She turns around, a puzzled look on her face. She looks so adorable I could die. She notices the suitcase and runs up to it. She notices me. “Thank you so much!” she shouts back with the most endearing smile I have ever seen. Now or never. Say something. “What a scare, huh? How about we exchange numbers? I lost my bags too.”
She gets on the train. It goes away without a trace. I light another cigarette. And another. It’s getting colder. I can’t even feel the smoke anymore. Trains rush past me one by one, and before I notice, the sky is dark. I can’t help but feel heavy. I finally decide it’s time to go somewhere. Where to this time, I wonder? Maybe someday…