She wore a baby pink dress with a deep cut neck..it was the perfect accompaniment to a beautiful London morning. When I found a seat opposite her on the train at Sanderstead, I didn’t wait to exchange pleasantries…I just sunk into the seat – full weight and all.
After I had settled, I looked up and something caught my eye – a pendant in the shape of a perfect M hung from a thin, almost absent silver thread on her neck. It hosted at least a dozen white stones, beautifully held in place.
She must have caught me looking. A smile spread hesitantly across her pursed lips. Almost like finishing my thought, she asked me what the “S” on my pendant meant. Before I could answer, she asked if it was the first letter of my name. I didn’t want to disappoint her…but I went against my guts. I said no.
I did too.
For every guess she made, I made one – back at her, about her “M”.
Kids’ names; parents; Birth month; favourite city; a pet?
We went on and on.
She observed that my “S” might not be an “S” after all. I didn’t agree or disagree. We continued playing.
When I asked her if Mars was her favourite planet, she asked me what Siene river meant to me?
The train driver interrupted us with his incessant apologies about every red signal we were handed on our way.
I took out a crumpled receipt from my bag and borrowed a pen from a sleepy co-passenger. I had to cross off every option we had discussed. This was getting serious now.
Maybelline – may be an avid make-up fan?
Matter – physicist?
Materialist – just someone who is proudly quite the consumer??
She kept up:
Sexy? – she carried on like that wasn’t a contender at all.
Salmon – a super-fan?
Sunday – vocally, visibly not a weekday person?
Saffron – the colour!! Her eyes widened…”You are from India, right?”
I nipped that thought right where it stemmed – what with the recent elections and other unspeakable things.
Our thought threads must have met when the train pulled into London Bridge. She opened her eyes, awoke from her deep slumber and spoke to me almost from the middle of a sentence…
“I dreamt that I had a long, convoluted conversation with you about our pendants”.
As I walked towards the exit at the London Bridge station, I basked in the ecstasy – in the ecstasy of freedom of being released from another person’s dream.