It’s a rainy day.
The dark gloomy clouds torment and fester, hiding the blue sky, instead, making it bleak and grey. A cold, bitter and almost cutting breeze has settled over London, coating everyone that walks on their journey’s in an awful, congested bubble of frost and coughing. And for once in her life, she’s actually glad to be on the train, because despite it being awfully packed, it’s warm and someone’s cologne smells really nice.
That’s when she spots the man sitting across from her, looking at her. He doesn’t look at her in a strange way, or a creepy and disgusting way, more like in a sympathetic, ‘I know how you feel’, kind of way. She must look pretty under the weather if someone in London, at half eight in the morning, on the busy underground has noticed. That hardly ever happens, everyone is usually half asleep, annoyed, or reading their bloody newspapers, despite standing and hitting people in the face.
Sighing, she leans back into her seat and closes her eyes, holding her bag to her chest, hoping to drift into a dreamless haze, to maybe keep her awake for her first seminar before her break. Her eyes droop and with the music playing in her ears from her headphones, she can feel an almost sleep starting to crawl over her senses, keeping her warm, safe and oblivious to those around her.
And then the train jerks and her eyes fly open.
The man across from her notices how she nearly flies out of her seat and blushes madly, looking down at her hands, fighting her own smile off her face. She can’t be much younger than him, probably about twenty-one, while he was twenty-three, on his way to work, at a job that he hated but needed, because he well, needed money. And to get his parents off his back – to stop his mother from worrying and his father from banging on at him about how, ‘he’s not making anything of himself’.
The young woman looks back up at him and blushes even more. He’s quite a handsome man. Dark hair and soft, warm skin with hazel-brown eyes, behind glasses and a strong jaw, dressed in a suit, with his bag and coat on his lap. Another moment later, she looks up and catches his eye again, by accident, because now that they’ve noticed each other, they can’t stop.
And then, he smiles at her.
And it doesn’t matter that they’ll probably never see each other again. It doesn’t matter that this is a chance meeting, surrounded by busy workers and people reading. It doesn’t matter that she’s hardly slept and her hair is a mess and she’s worried that she might pass out. It doesn’t matter that it’s too early in the morning, that her clothes don’t really match today, or that her coat is hanging off one of her shoulders and her scarf is bundled up around her neck, trapping her headphones.
None of it matters, because he noticed her and he didn’t judge her, or mock her for her unruly appearance.
No, he smiled.
Something that seemed so small and insignificant, but it made her feel a bit better. He probably didn’t even know, but his smile meant a lot more than it seemed – she wasn’t used to people giving her a second glance. And yet, he thought she could use a comforting gesture.
It was just a smile.
But it proved that perhaps, not everyone in London was trapped in their own bubbles. Perhaps, there were people out there, who deemed others worthy of a smile.