Excluding the Metrolink, it's unusual for me to use rail as my preferred choice of transport. Infact I can't remember the last time I was on a train, must have been at least 6/7 years ago, when Mum took us on a day trip to Blackpool. An eternity ago... before she could afford her own car, or the petrol to drive back and forth to the seaside.
Today I was subjected to a train journey, as circumstances required me to travel to Preston, for a mildly important work meeting - one we whole every quarter, and usually at a site just around the corner from me. So, a slight inconvience this time then!
Almost got lost on the outward bound side of the trip. You see, I asked an attendee at the train station what platform I was required to take, and he answered me... only, he clearly wasn't British, and it was hard to fully comprehend what he was saying. Though I tried my hardest, I misunderstood - and got the wrong train!
Ended up in a place called Stalybridge, which I'd never even heard of before today. Honest, I coulda cried, as I realise that Stalybridge was THE OPPOSITE DIRECTION as to what I wanted to go... Ooops!! Tail between my legs, I had to get the same train I just got off (which, luckily, had been waiting around for a good quarter of an hour) - and then make the same journey I just took back into Manchester...
And then, that's when it happened - that's when I saw her, one of the most attractive girls I ever did see, sat opposite right to me. She was about my age, with blonde hair (though her brunette roots were showing through - tut!!) and wearing this very red, very flattering jumper. You know, the sort of chic jumper that looks like casual schoolwear for adults, if that makes sense. I'm sure there's a technical name for 'em, but who cares?! It's a jumper... hello people, girl!!
I remember doing that thing that all shy-but-interested people do - keep looking her way, and hoping that she was looking back. At first, she gave me nothing. Didn't even notice me. But I carried on, because a) I liked her, and b) I'm clearly desperate. Eventually, through the corner of my eye, I could see her looking at me for split seconds here and there, and then...
She did it. The ultimate sign. And... OMG!!
She looked at me, and then flicked her hair - playing with it a second, before looking at me again. I decided there and then that she must be interested in me, so I decide to respond - by maybe looking at her and smiling, but every time I do I bottle it and look away. I just can't do it; after two serious girlfriends and lots, and lots of flirting inbetween I guess I'm still shy around girls.
So I carried on looking, but nothing else. I try my best to act cool, and sit back in my chair and close my eyes. I only open them to look at her reflection in the mirror (by this point I'm aware of how much I've been looking at her, and how creeped out she must have been because of it at this point!) Occassionally, I might look at her or her surroundings again - but never expect anything further from her, but then she totally surprises me. In a good way.
One of those times I nervously inch my eyes towards her, she looks at me! And smiles!! Well, that strange 'half smile' where you raise your bottom lip just enough to let the other person know that you're there, and showing them that you are aware of their presence. I do the gesture back, and suddenly know that I've just met this incredible girl, and she might like me! My belly fills with butterflies (ooh, how I've missed them! Last time I had them = February, when I first met the ex) and bucketloads of thoughts, and potential.
Of course, I never get round to talking to the girl. Hello... shy!! We arrive back at Manchester, where we both get off and go our seperate ways, but in a way, that was enough. It was just so nice to sit there, even for that short space of time, and know that this beautiful girl sat so close to me just might be interested. Brought a smile to my face, hours later and sat inside that tedious work meeting, just thinking about it.
I have no idea what could have been if I had spoken to her. I'll never know, unless the Gods align and by some miracle she visits this site and reads this blog post, or I see her on Facebook, or whatever. It doesn't matter, ultimately, because I made a connection with another human being - me, Mr. Cranky Pants Loner. And for that twenty minutes or so, that felt amazing - and in a strange way just sitting there falling for a girl I've never even spoken to, or indeed saw, before today... well, it made me feel so alive.