We sat in silence until she said, "Oh, you're reading Feed!" Wait, what, how did she know about Feed? A friend of hers had read it and been raving about it. I pointed to the author and said, "She's my friend." I asked her what her friend's name was, since I might know her. Mulligan. Didn't ring any bells. She asked what the book was about, and I told her, and she thought it sounded really cool.
Also, it was not the book she was thinking of. She was thinking of the OTHER Feed. But I told her this one was really good, and I also recommended Rosemary and Rue, which she also seemed very interested in when I described it to her.
"I'm Sunil," I said, extending my hand. She shook it, giving her name: Maya.
She asked me what I did, and I told her, and she told me about her friend volunteering for an HIV drug trial. I asked what she did, and she said she was in massage school. She'd done a year of college and then gone traveling around the world, and now she was in massage school, and she also played the violin. She had just joined a psychedelic rock band called Morph Dwarf, whose music she described as ranging from Tool-style metal to...flamenco.
My heart began pounding as we reached the East Bay, knowing that our conversation would have to come to an end in a few stops. I considered asking for her number or e-mail address to continue the conversation. I don't know. She was cute and she talked to me. I suppose that's all it takes for me to think we have a connection.
Before I could formulate a way to do such a thing, though, we hit the 19th St. stop, and she got off, saying it was great to meet me. She may have shaken my hand again.
As soon as the doors closed, my head met the seat in front of me. Why hadn't I said anything?
The trains continued on to Macarthur, and I decided to be uncharacteristically bold, if only so I could write about it. I knew that 19th St. hadn't actually been her stop; she had been eyeing the train on the other track. She had only transferred. When our trains stopped at Macarthur, she would be there. I looked in my wallet. I pulled out my blogger business card, which had my number and e-mail address.
At Macarthur, I rushed out and walked across the platform to the other train. I stepped in the car and looked around. I didn't see her. Damn. I got out and walked toward the back of the train, looking in the windows of each car. I didn't see her. I made it all the way to the end. Maybe she had gotten off at 19th St. Well, at least I had tried.
I began walking back. And then through the open door of a car, I saw her. Talking to another guy. She was just friendly; she talked to everyone; I wasn't anyone special, of course.
Regardless, I walked into the car and said, "Maya." I handed her the card. "I would have regretted not doing this." I don't think she heard me or registered what was going on.
She looked at what I had handed her and said, "Oh! Thank you!" I waved goodbye and quickly got off the train before getting awkwardly trapped on it until the next stop. There may have been another exchange of "Nice to meet you"s, but I'm pretty sure I didn't say anything because I couldn't believe that had actually happened. What the hell was I thinking? She's not going to call or e-mail a crazy loser stalker guy who tries to pick up girls on public transportation.