First meeting
by Janelle Ward

First meeting. 9.08 A.M. Just outside of Schiphol station. Two in a sea of sweaty commuters, fighting for a seat. Hardly the place for the gods of lust to rendezvous.

I enter the carriage without looking around. My eyes are on my regular seat. If my seat is occupied I will not enjoy my time here. I must sit in that particular seat to allow the unexpected to happen. I sit. The world aligns.

That’s when I first see you. You are looking back at me. I give you a half smile and hear the music begin to play. Yes, the music can play before my first sip of coffee. For me, the music can always play. Usually it is silent, but the promise of melodious anticipation is always just one stranger away. The music has a steady beat. Tick tick tick tick. Think Angel by Massive Attack. Think anything by Massive Attack.

Blood flow intensifies. I may or may not be blushing. I may or may not feel light headed. I remove my laptop from its snug carrier and fire it up. You are staring at your coffee. You are wearing shiny black shoes. Dark washed jeans. A crisp blazer. Glasses, dark hair. A shitty mobile phone you keep fiddling with. I can forgive bad taste in technology, at least for now. For my purposes it won’t matter.

We smile again. I am convinced you are a foreigner. You have that cautious way about you. Neither of us fit in. I wonder if you’re going on a job interview with your briefcase perched next to you like an unfamiliar accessory. You might be an academic, with those dark washed jeans and that crappy phone. Academics rarely try pulling off a suit. You look about my age. It’s always interesting to observe someone who has made it to the mid thirties and still wears dark washed jeans to a job interview. You’re probably an academic. That means you enjoy deep contemplative thinking. I haven’t fucked enough academics to know whether you also enjoy contemplating the desires of the flesh.

We’re almost to Amsterdam. I won’t ask, because I’m not ready to be that guilty. But if you came over right now and propositioned me I would say yes. I would simply gather my things and follow you off the train. Don’t believe me? Try it. I dare you. There you are smiling again, and getting up, and digging awkwardly in your briefcase, and extracting your OV Chipkaart from your pocket. There you are smiling again as you gather your things and exit the carriage.

The music is still playing.