I had that semester’s schedule down to a science.
I knew exactly the right time to leave home, to get the right bus to link up with the right subway to transfer to the connecting train at just the right time to get Downtown.
Keeping to my schedule guaranteed that I would get to campus early enough to grab a coffee and review some notes before German class.
But one day, I found myself off schedule.
Someone in the house had taken my umbrella so I had to find another before heading out. My schedule was off by one bus, one subway ride and one train. I arrived at the transfer station just as a train was about to leave and thinking that I couldn’t run fast enough to catch it, I slowed my roll.
But I made it all the way to train car just as the doors shut in my face.
10 seconds and I would have caught that train.
I was rolling my eyes at how close I had gotten when my eyes made four with a guy who was looking straight back at me through the glass doors.
All I remember is that he had wavy dark brown hair, kind brown eyes and a nice smile.
In his early twenties and likely a university student like me.
I smiled back.
As weird as this sounds, there was some kind of chemistry, a connection that was almost magnetic.
It was NOT a love-at-first-sight kind of thing because I don’t believe in that fairy tale stuff but there was “something” that I couldn’t describe and from the look on his face, I think he felt it too.
I just stood there like a confused idiot on the platform, a few inches separating us, hindered by the subway doors. He looked confused as well and raised both of hands in the air as if to say “I don’t know what to do. How to get out of here to get to you?”
He didn’t do it in a weirdo crazy type of way otherwise I wouldn’t even be sharing this story with you today.
Just like in the movies, we just stood there looking at each other for what felt like the longest time but it couldn’t have been more than seconds. Suddenly, the automated subway lady voice came over the intercom telling passengers to clear the doors and the subway doors slide open by a few inches…
You know how that happens, right?
We were both taken by surprise so his attempt at sticking his hand through to keep the doors from closing came a few seconds too late and the doors slammed shut again. He placed both palms against the glass as if he wanted to reach out to me. Unlike my usually reserved self, I found myself reaching out and placing one of my palms against his through the glass. The train started to pull away and that was the end of that.
It was unreal and just like a cheesy romantic comedy except that this time I wasn’t laughing at how calculated and stupid the scene was…
Now, every so often when I find myself standing on same platform on the odd occasion that I’m in that part of downtown, that incident crosses my mind.
What if I had ran to catch that train instead of taking my time? If my daily schedule had been to take the later bus and train everyday, would we have bumped into each other before? What if the subway doors had fully opened and he had been able to join me on the platform? What would we have said to each other?
Would 10 seconds have changed the trajectory of my life?
I’ll be honest, for weeks after that I did later my travel schedule to see if we might bump into each other again but it didn’t happen.
For all I know, he could have started taking the earlier train thinking he could bump into me too.
Yeah, I realize that he could have ended up being a total jerk or crazy serial killer but I’ll never know, right?
No, I’ll never know.
What are some of your What ifs? Share with me in the comments.