The moment I got on the train, it left the platform. It was full with passengers. I looked here and there to find an empty seat but I couldn’t find any. While passing through the seats, I spotted an empty seat where a man sitting. I rushed to it. Squeezed in my legs and slowly lowered myself down onto the seat. A lady was sitting in front of me. I smiled at her and she smiled back.
After making myself comfortable on the seat, I took a book from my bag to read. While flipping through the page, my eyes caught a glimpse of the lady. She was looking gorgeous with shiny straight dark-brown hair dangling over her shoulder. She smiled at me, when she found me peeping at her while reading. I smiled back but pretended to look busy reading. The man, sitting beside me was looking a gentleman. He was reading a newspaper and he was looking about my age.
“It’s a beautiful day,” the man said. I looked at him, thinking he was talking to me, but he was talking to the lady not me.
“Yes. It looks good,” she replied. I felt her voice very soft.
“Yesterday was horrible. It rained all day. But now, it seems fantastic,” he said looking outside through the windowpanes.
“I wish I was outside to enjoy the sun. What about you? Do you like sun?”
“Yes, I enjoy sunny days,” she answered, picking up a book from her bag.
“Do you like crime stories?”
“Yes, I do. But this one is a detective story book. I like detective stories.”
“Me too. Have you read the latest book by James Armtek?”
“No, I haven’t.”
“You must! I’m sure you will like it. It’s a great book, sold more than twenty million copies.”
“Wow! It must be a good book.”
“Yes, it is.”
“Have you read it?”
“No, I haven’t,” the man said and continued that he had read the review of the book in the paper.
At this point, I wanted to jump into the conversation because I had read the book but unfortunately I didn’t say anything. I remained silent and pretended to read.
“Are you going to London?” the man asked the lady, changing to another topic.
“Yes, I’m visiting a friend there,” she replied.
“I’m also going to London to see friends in Walthamstow. Whereabouts in London you are going?”
“I’m also going Walthamstow. It is the first time I’m going there.”
“Wow! What a coincidence! Me too. Anyway my name is John and I’m a journalist.”
“I’m Suzie. I work for a charity shop.”
“That’s great. Which charity shop do you work for?”
“Is it somewhere around Cardiff City Centre?”
“Yes, it’s near the bus station.”
“I think I’ve seen it. I haven’t been inside but it looks great from outside. You must be a manager of the shop?”
“No, I’m not. I just work part-time.”
“Is it the only job you do?”
“Yes, for the time being. I like working in the shop.”
The man took a pack of biscuits out of his bag and offered her “Would you like to have some?”
“No, thank you,” she said.
He then forwarded the biscuits to me, which I also declined. It was another chance for me to start talking to the lady but again I couldn’t.
“I didn’t get a chance to have breakfast in the morning. Now, I feel bit hungry,” the man explained to the lady.
“It’s alright. You can eat,” she said politely.
“Do you always travel by train?”
“Not really. My friend bought me the tickets.”
“Wow! You have nice friends.”
“Yes, she is very nice.”
“Do you mind if I ask where you live?”
“I live in Ryder.”
“Ah! I also live there. Do you know which road?”
“Wow! I live there too but I’ve never seen you.”
“I can believe that.”
“What street do you live in?”
“I can’t believe it. I also live there.”
“I’m not surprised. I can believe it.”
“I know, but it’s not a crowded street, there are only very few houses. How long have you been living there?”
“About three years.”
“Me too, but I’ve never seen you there.”
“What house number do you live in?”
“House # 56.”
“Oh my God! I live there too.”
On hearing both of them living in the same house number, I immediately interrupted them “Excuse me!” I said putting my book on the table. “This is unbelievable. How can you both live in the same house and you don’t know each other?”
The young woman looked at me, smiled and said quietly, “he is my husband and we both are passing our time.”
The short story has recently been updated. It was originally posted on The Express Tribune newspaper Pakistan on 24th of March 2014.