Sharanya Misra

Kay looked up from the book even as her heart leapt a familiar little leap. There he was. Taking long anxious strides towards the ticket kiosks. You’re late today! 07:58. She looked at him dreamily in his ruffed jeans and tweed blazer, the usual satchel bag hanging to the side. You look every bit the ‘young and dashing professor’ I bet you are! The announcement! Her train was here. Kay quickly scooped up her belongings and rushed into the last train to work for the morning. One quick look back as he was pulling the tickets off the machine. Bye Gorgeous!

That evening Kay sat on her couch with her cat Max curled around her and thought back to the first time. She was heading to the kiosks for her tickets in an awful hurry. I used to board the train at 07:30 back then, she chuckled, rubbing Max’s ears. Her train was just four minutes away and the guy in front of her seemed to be taking forever. After tapping her feet impatiently for a complete minute, she had gone up to him and asked, “Hey! Can I help you?”. That’s when he had turned to look at her with his irresistible eyes – brown with just that little hint of gold. Kay had sputtered something, only managing to embarrass him and he had taken off to the ticket counter instead, mumbling his apologies. Kay had brooded the entire day for being so rude. The next day, she had decided she didn’t need to take the first train out to work, after all.

He cycled to the station every day. Just as her first train left, he would alight from his steed Barry (yup, Kay’s idea) and park it. He had a funny way of doing it she thought, the alighting. He would jump off the moving cycle and run alongside it the last couple of seconds. You wouldn’t have to be in such a rush if you just came in earlier, George! He must be a George, Kay thought. The sharp Brit looks, the tweed jacket, even a little old-fashioned sometimes. He fit the bill for a George.

The other day, he sat right opposite her in the waiting room. Her train was delayed. Yayy!! And for the first time ever, they sat down in the same space. Kay, daring to look up from her mobile every now and then and George comfortably lost in the world of his book. He was reading the Wuthering Heights. She had lost her heart to him just a bit more.

I think you live with your sister. George had just walked in and Kay’s musings had begun to spiral. As always. I think you live with your elder sister in her attic. That’s who makes you your lunch, the airtight box always peeping from your bag as you rush past. And I think you are a wonderful Uncle to her lovely children. You look like you would be a fun Uncle! As he sat down, his pants rode a little higher to reveal the tiny yellow minions on his black socks. There! You are fun! Kay boarded her train giggling.

I do want to tell him, Max, I do! And I will! Trust me! I’m just waiting for the right time, don’t want him thinking I am crazy. Max looked back with big, bored eyes. One day, I’ll do something to make him notice me. Maybe he’ll drop his bag and I’ll help him. Or maybe he’ll forget his wallet at home and I’ll offer to buy him his ticket. Won’t that just be the perfect way to get to know him? You just wait Max, that day isn’t far away.

Oh my Goddd!! Oh my, oh my!!! Kay was ecstatic. He had looked up today. At HER. And smiled! He walked into the station just as Kay was looking for a seat. Lost in her thoughts, she walked right into him. He flashed a quick smile and a ‘You all right?’ as she smiled like a fool. Argghh! Why didn’t I say something smart? Why didn’t I take the conversation further? But the beratement could be kept aside for another day, she knew. Today was time to celebrate!

I think he teaches in Oxford. I wonder…hmm…Kay was twirling her hair. I wonder if you teach English. Wow. Wouldn’t that just make you my perfect man? A big sigh. Ok, I give in. I am definitely talking to you today, George. I don’t think you even realise I exist. At this rate, I may well be an old spinster still waiting for you at the station. Yes, today is the day! Be it a yes or a no from you, doesn’t matter, I WILL speak my heart. Dear God, please let it be a yes! He dressed differently this morning, Kay noticed, the minute he stepped in. The blazer and satchel were missing. Is that a tattoo on your arm?? Does it say ‘H’??? Who’s ‘H’?? Kay tucked her hair behind her ear, irritated. Why did they just keep springing back, she cursed under her breath. He seemed irritated too. Maybe even angry. I wonder what’s wrong. Her train arrived. She left, disturbed.

He wasn’t there. The next day. And the next. Kay missed her train both days. Hoping against hope that he was taking a later train than usual. No George. Kay walked repeatedly from the cycle parking to the ticket kiosk, had she missed him? Is he sick? I bet he’s caught the flu that’s been going around. He’ll be back in a few days. I am sure. Kay would wait…

Kay ran into to the station heading straight for the kiosk. She just had about four minutes. Scooping up her tickets, she made a mad dash for the platform just as the train arrived, right on time. 07:30. As she boarded, Kay threw one last look at the station entrance. Smiling, she shook her head. Old habits die hard, she mused, closing the door hard behind her.

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