We shared the same lobby but did not have the same employer. They both worked for the same employer and all three of us shared the same commute. The first time we got on the train together I sat between them. He had his eyes fixed on her face through out the thirty minutes journey.His eyes brazen in their desire. She was beautiful and I could see why he could not take his eyes off her.He would say something I didn’t think was funny and she would throw her dark head back, ringlets flying in every direction and laugh, a deep throat melodious sound.
I met them at lunch a couple of weeks later….both sitting so close together. They whispered, shared secret smiles and I saw the joy of a new, budding relationship.They waved me over. He tells me they have started dating, I feign surprise.Remember that day on the train…we had dinner and have been together ever since.She tells me:he is wonderful. He says :she is beautiful. They speak in codes but I am able to understand their meaning.
Fast forward a couple of months,I sit beside him alone on the train. He tells me they are having issues. He wants her to move in with him, she wants to keep her apartment.He wants the benefits of a commitment without making the commitment. I tell him I am old fashioned and do not encourage co-habitation. He tells me he loves her. I tell him to be patient.In my heart I feel a certain pride she is not making things easy for him. The following week I share my commute with her. She echoes his frustrations. I ask why she refuses to live with him. She throws her head back and laughs, that familiar laugh. “Been there, done that, bought a t-shirt. It always ends badly, or awkwardly.” She told me how she was stuck living in an apartment with an ex boyfriend who moved on long before she did. The financial mess she found herself because she had prematurely yoked herself into the relationship too soon. She told me, she had been transferred to another location of the same company. She was grateful for the change, things were getting “weird” working in the same place as her boyfriend.
A few weeks later, I sit across him during our commute. He is on his phone,face grim, shoulders tense:texting, calling…he looks miserable. After several minutes, he throws his phone in his rucksack and runs his hand through his blond curls. Whats wrong? I ask him. He tells me she isn’t returning his calls. She wants to take a job in another state. He feels desperate. He tells me he loves her.I feel sorry for him.
I listen to him go on and on. His eyes crinkle at the corners and become teary. Poor man. I think to myself. I tell him to hang in there as he gets off at his stop.I read the familiar thread of events clearly. She wants to leave him. After that exchange, he seemed to have changed his schedule because I didn’t see him for a while.She had taken the job I assumed because I didn’t see her either. One day, forced to work late due to an impending dead line I get on the train with him. His hair has grown longer, he appeared to have gained a bit of weight and he looked happy. I am genuinely happy to see him. He tells me he had changed his schedule to enable him speak with her on the phone. Her state was a couple of hours behind our central time zone. He tells me they are getting married. I am delightfully surprised. He asked her on his birthday. The best birthday gift he ever had.
I receive my invite via mail. They got the spelling of my name right. They include a small note: To Bola, who was there from the beginning.