September 27th, 2008

Pam love

Bay Area Rapid Hope Loss

On the BART platform, I saw a trio of women enacting a scene I had often been a part of: a train came by, and only one of them would be going on it, someone who it seemed had just been visiting, and so hugs were exchanged and two women bid their friend goodbye. Minutes later, they commented on the series of BART police entering the train, and I, feeling a kinship with them, joked that they were simply taking advantage of their free BART rides.

We boarded the next train, standing since there were no seats available. I stood near but apart. I faced the younger of the two women, who had long, curled blonde hair and rectangular glasses. She was cute. She talked a lot throughout the entire ride. She was really enjoying the freedom of being single, going out when she wanted and doing whatever. It seemed that she had recently gotten out of a yearlong relationship that had gone nowhere.

What I noticed was that she sounded really happy. And it showed in her smile and her laughs. There was something vivacious about her, and it was nice to see.

For reasons I can only partially explain (she reminded me of Someone), I felt a strong desire to tell her so. Not in an effort to hit on her or anything—a man would be a fool to hit on a woman who's just expressed joy in being single. But...just something nice to say.

Seats were vacated, and they took their seats, and I took mine, a couple down. "Your whole face lights up when you smile. It's lovely." There was an option. "Single and happy looks good on you." There was another, if it didn't spiral off into a Jeff-style monologue ("Not that I think you should be single..."). I could preface with "Unsolicited compliment." Some women hate them. Maybe she was one of them? I could be creepy. It happens. But for some stupid reason, I wanted this woman to be happy all the time because it really suited her.

I thought I'd address her on my way out, just tossing a comment off as I walked by. But I didn't think I'd have the cojones to pull it off; I needed some time to prepare. I stood up before my stop. To my surprise, my heart was beating rapidly—maybe the partial explanation was the only explanation, and my body was reverting to December 2000. She was sitting, turned to her friend and talking. I didn't want to interrupt. I had no opening. I didn't even think I could get the words out anyway; surely, they would come out garbled. I'm no good at the smooth delivery. I managed it eight years ago, but that was because I turned it into a list.

I walked out, not saying anything, my heart still pounding, and as I exited the station, I felt an inexplicable sadness. I felt a little cold and empty inside. I'm still sitting here sniffling, wishing I could have said the words, and I can't really explain why. I hope she stays single and happy for as long as she needs, and I hope she finds someone who keeps her that way. I never even knew her name.

It's probably Katie. It's always Katie.