The wagon was quite crowded on this Monday morning. But she was used to it. She was used to strangers' bodies pressing against each other to let others get in. This was Paris. The city where people are always hurrying to go somewhere. Surprisingly, it didn't bother her. It was in fact her favourite part of the day. This was when she would see him. Him had no name, not yet anyway. She didn't know him at all. She had no clue of what his tastes were like, if he had any siblings, what kind of job he had or if he had one for that matter. Truly, it wasn't really important. He could be homeless for all she cared. She just wanted to see him. It was part of their routine. She would wait for him and he would come join her, stations later. They would stand or sit not far from each other and they would begin a staring contest. It was refreshing, a good way to start the day. Today was no different. She didn't see him all weekend because she had no classes. She had missed him. But this morning, she knew he would be here. They would always meet in the third wagon, the one in the middle. The time was precise. If she arrived in the underground too early, she would wait. She figured it was the same for him. They never missed each other. He would always be right outside the doors, waiting to go in. As if on cue, the train slowed down and came to final stop. La Bastille. People began filling out the wagon while new ones went in. Leaning against the door on the other side, she stood there, facing directly towards the entrance. She was looking for him in this mass of heads. She was not disappointed. His dark hair in disarray stood out among all the passengers and his piercing green eyes were staring at her. She repressed a smile as he came to stand by her side, adopting the same position as the young woman. She lifted her head to look intently at him before shifting her gaze straight ahead. Her hand was very close to his and it took all her might not to touch it. There were unspoken rules that defined their uncommon relationship. No talking, no touching. More precisely, no touching before talking. Seeing as none of them were ready to take the first step, many weeks would have passed before she could touch his hand. Not that she minded. She was really comfortable and content with this present situation. It had something... unique. The rest of the run went in silence. They were like perfect strangers standing next to each other in a wagon. In a way, they were. Nobody would have suspected that their relationship was implicit. She would look at him and she would know. He was different. She could feel it. Something was happening between them even if she couldn't put her finger on it. She had no idea where this would lead on. She didn't really care, in fact. She simply enjoyed the present time. Nothing else mattered. The train finally came to a stop and her heart sank. It was time to go. She turned her head toward him as if to say “see you tomorrow”, then stepped off the wagon to face another day in real life.
It was Tuesday morning. She was standing at the same place than the day before. She was waiting for him again. Some would have had enough of this almost non-existent relationship but not her. There was a certain thrill to this routine and she would never grow tired of it. It was exhilarating. The train arrived at La Bastille station. As usual, she looked for him through the crowd. She didn't see him. She may have not looked well enough. Her brown eyes scanned the wagon intently. No trace of him. This was unexpected. Nothing of the sort happened before. He was always here on time. The ring announcing the closure of the doors resounded and he still wasn't here. The train took off. She wondered what happened. Didn't he want to see her again? Or was it just a matter of lateness? She hoped it was the second one. This kind of thing could happen all the time. He could have been running late and missed the train. However, if it was the first supposition, then it would be another story. She thought he liked this relationship like she did. Perhaps she was wrong. Maybe he wanted more. Maybe he wanted nothing at all and it was her who had imagined things. She refused to be affected by it. She could perfectly live one day without seeing him. She was an independent woman and he was just a man. A stranger. She wasn't feeling sad. Was she? The train stopped again and the doors opened. She didn't paid attention. There is no point in doing so. That's when he appeared. What was he doing here? It wasn't the good station. His face was slightly red from running. Maybe he had been really late. Immediately, she felt relieved. He wanted to see her again. He hadn't missed the rendezvous. He looked at her and smiled in apology. He came by her side like usual. Everything was going back to normal. He hadn't grow tired of her.
“I'm sorry I was running late. I had to go in the first wagon before the doors close.”
He was speaking. For the first time. His whisper was so low that for a moment, she thought she was dreaming. But when she glanced at him, in surprise, he was gazing at her expectantly. He broke the rule and she was happy about it. Nothing would be the same anymore.
“It's quite alright, I understand. No harm done.” She replied.
He was grinning by now and she couldn't help but respond. He held out his hand and said:
“I am Anthony.”
She looked down at his hand then at his face. She couldn't believe what was happening. So much changed in so little time. But she wasn't going to back down. Not now. She took his hand and shook it.