Sharon stood wide eyed by the unexpected guest in front of her. Her work exit being the very last place she would have ever expected to see Joel.
‘I’m sorry … if this freaks you out or whatever. But you told me where you worked and we didn’t get a chance to exchange numbers last night. I got worried, wondering if you got to your place okay.’ He hated himself for behaving like such a creep but he hadn’t had the guts to ask for her contacts in the train and finding her here was his next best option after that slip up.
‘I called the receptionist here and she said you were out, besides calls can be awkward.’
He still stood there nervously pressing his palm hard against the security railing at the narrow entrance she had just used to come out from. He wondered if he would ever tell Sharon he’d been waiting in the parking lot for over four hours.
‘Hi Joel’ She still had the bewildered look on her face.
Just from hearing her voice, he felt himself go back into his deepest-safest place again. She unknowingly seemed to have that effect on him. In another lifetime where she didn’t appear to be so terrified by his intrusion, he would have smiled and embraced her thin frame ever so tightly.
At least he waited until after working hours to make his surprise appearance, Joel reasoned with himself. He decided to let the silence between them lead her to dig deep into her English teacher vocabulary and hug him with her words.
‘I’m not mad that you are here… I just didn’t expect to see you.’
‘I can understand that’ Joel assured her. He didn’t want to be so detached from what should have been their most precious moment.
‘Thank you for coming, I thought we would never see each other again.’ She was trying to bring him back, sensing that their past connection was being lost in everything else they yearned to say to each other.
He didn’t say anything…
‘We had a great night right? She tried again, needing the reassurance to come from him this time.
‘Yes’ Was all he could manage, feeling unprepared for her inquiry.
‘Okay’ She said forcing a smile.
‘I think I was also hoping we could hang out.’ He wanted them back on their sides facing each other in the dark of the Midnight Express Train, talking endlessly acquainting their souls.
‘Right now?’ She blurted out before she could stop herself.
They both chuckled at her attempts of loosening the edge. He removed his hand resting on the wall. He turned and faced her completely.
‘Every night Sharon. Do you think you can manage that?’
Their heavy exhilarating intensity was back…
Cover Photo By: Smangaliso Tshabalala