He takes the first seat he can find. Hauling his ripped backpack from his shoulders he sits, breathless and relieved. The smell of library books fills the train, it’s a comforting smell, reminds her of her misspent youth with her nose buried deep in the pages of a borrowed book. The covers would be worn and the pages dog-eared but she loved them more than ever.
Glancing to the library scented man she becomes fascinated. He takes his own book – Quantum Generations – from his weathered bag, along with a selection of rolls, homemade. His nails are long and unkempt, his boots covered in mud and some kind of plaster. These details are a stark contrast to the business suit he wears, dated yes, but well kept. He loses himself in the world of physics, unaware of the crumbs scattering his lap, or the mud falling from his boots Every few pages he takes a pen and paper, furiously taking notes in messy eccentric handwriting. Images of mad scientists flash in her mind.
Eventually his stop comes, he hurriedly crams everything into his backpack and scurries off the train.
Who was that man who captured her imagination so intently? Where would his muddy boots take him? I guess she will never know.
Pushing him to the back of her mind she began planning her day. Not one more thought would go to the library scented man she saw that day, not for a while anyway…
“Not again please! Not this again!”
He stands at the station platform worrying a tear in his suit jacket. He was late and exhausted from running for this train. The lateness, down to that damn stoplight, had meant he missed his usual train. The 4.03 was always nice and quiet. He could get a seat to himself where he could be near the window and pretend he wasn’t even there. He was simply flying through the countryside alone, speeding toward his destination.
Missing the 4.03 meant he would have to sit next to someone. Hopefully not directly next to them to the point where they touch him. A seats space was bad enough!
Why did he wait at that damn stop sign!? No cars came anyway, it was totally pointless. But he knows that the minute he had ignored that obnoxious red man and stepped into the road, a speeding car would have hurtled round the corner and all that would be left of Henry Bosworth would be muddy boots and a torn backpack.
The way he felt about sitting next to another human was almost bad enough to welcome the speeding car! At least he had his book. He could lose himself in that just so long as nobody tried starting a conversation!
Finding a suitable seat – aisle so he could jump up as soon as another became available – he allowed himself to relax. Not that he ever really relaxed that is. Relaxation to Henry was 3 seconds of empty mind space before the nagging thoughts came back.
“That girls looking at me, she can smell it”
That was a good 3 seconds.
He tries to ignore the girl next to him. Reading his book and eating his lunch he can seem nonchalant. She doesn’t know he can still see her staring in his peripherals.
“Make your notes Henry, don’t let it affect you”
He is well aware of how he must look. How he always looks to other people. A crazy, dishevelled old fool. But not for long! They’ll understand soon. It will all be clear! Just please stop staring at me!!
His stop comes sooner than anticipated and he rushes to leave the train. The open air is like a massage of his senses, but with that moment of pleasure comes a spine chilling realisation.
“I left it on the train!”
To most it would be nothing, practically non-existent, but to him it was everything! Everything and he left it on the damn train! What would he do now?…