I met him on the L train.
He was wearing neon orange parachute pants, a Cartoon Network graphic tee, and bright white platform sneakers. Everything about him screamed “CREATIVE” - even the way his fingers danced a chorus line kick against the railing he held on to.
Was he looking at me? I couldn’t tell. Was I looking at him? I bet he could tell. We both had our headphones in, anyway. And this is New York, anyway. Why would anything happen, anyway?
So I settled for a game of eye contact roulette. You know how to play- everyone knows how to play. You make sure to look away every time he looks over, that way he’ll never even possibly be able to guess that you’re checking him out.
In fact, every time he looked over I made a big show of fixing and tightening the straps on my overalls. In the end, it turned out to be more effective at giving me a monster wedgie than an alibi for ogling, ‘cause moments later he slid me his phone, opened to the Notes page. He had written: “I like your overalls. And I think you’re really pretty.” ME? He pretties my overalls and likes he thinks me?? Wait, what? My face grew hot as I released a smile and probably a little drool. “Thank you”, I mouthed, to which he smiled the kind of smile that made me think I should wear overalls more often.
And then we were at his stop. As I watched him saunter off, I thought, “MAN, that was probably the one. And there he go...wait a second, isn’t this my stop too?” I squeezed through the wall of angry commuters and onto the platform just in time to catch the tip of his brilliant, bold head disappearing up the stairs!
I had to catch him!
So I raced up the stairs, barreling through the clasped palms of lovers, knocking over teetering old ladies, stepping on children’s tiny toes.
And there he was, standing on a platform, drawing on the tiled wall with a sharpie. He drew an abstract face, checked over each shoulder, and ducked back into the crowd.
A street artist? A vandal? I was more determined than ever.
So I did all the math I always told my geometry teachers I’d never be able to do, and with just the right speed and force, I “accidentally” bumped into him as he crossed Union Station.