You found me at the train station.
On that rainy day when the train thundered in and that woman got off and stamped on my foot which you saw from a distance, using it to strike up conversation.
“That looked intentional” you said as you sat down wearing that suit you hated and a sincere look in the vacant seat beside me. I wondered whether you hadn’t noticed that almost all the other seats were available and grimaced in response.
I remember my first impression being that you were very cocky for someone so averagely attractive, shallow as I was.
You told me your name was Daniel “Call-Me-Danny” Green with a big smile and a flash of your eyes like you’d done it many times before. I replied with an ordinary “Maxxie Malone” and averted my eyes in a way that you later described as intriguing.
My blush barricaded me from conversation but you held your own, relaxing me. The voice of my conscience screamed at me for lowering the drawbridge and letting you in but it was silenced by my interest; I was transfixed by the formation of your words, the way you spoke with such confidence and strung your sentences together without a moment’s hesitation.
“I’ve been to a job interview,” you explained and I realised slightly too late that I should probably reply and did so lamely with “And how did that go?”
You didn’t seem too bothered and announced gleefully that you “had it in the bag”. You said they’d loved you – I can relate – and that you’d be very surprised if they hadn’t rung by tomorrow. I showed interest.
“What’s the job?”
Something in business – that explained the suit. I never understood what it was you did. Your work was a whole other world to me.
You were eight-teen, you said. With a college diploma in business and economics and a plan. You knew what you wanted and you knew how to get it, you’d known for years but at eight-teen, few took you seriously. But this time you’d got lucky.
At this point you apologised for being so rude and going on about yourself, “Tell me about you…” With a big smile and a flash of your eyes.
I wanted to shout at you. Your every word entranced me, I could listen forever. You were so sure of yourself, drawing me in, my drawbridge forgotten. I didn’t worry about letting you in; I just wanted to know you.
It was a long time since I’d experienced such fascination.
You assumed I didn’t know where to begin and so prompted me, for which I was very grateful. “What’s Maxxie short for?”
You were so obviously disappointed with my response that I forced myself to prattle on in the hope you’d talk more after. “People just assume Maxine-” Another grimace, “-which I’m tempted to start answering too; I’m bored of correcting them.”
You chuckled then and told me my expression said more than my words.
I wanted you to tell me your words and let me read your expressions. Just then it read restrained interest. Your eyes were intense, boring into my own, your mouth tightly shut. But you held yourself oddly, like you wanted to appear relaxed but it was a strain to do so. It helped my assessment that you told me this later, to which I replied “I know, I read your expression.” I could be cocky too.
Within such a short space of time I told you more than I’d ever told anyone. I was Maxxie Malone and I was weeks away from turning eight-teen. I was studying for my A-levels which was what my parents wanted. I had no idea what I wanted, it wasn’t that. I was tall and intimidated by women who were taller. At that point you sat up straight, making me chuckle having already noticed your muscular six-foot-two frame and wonder whether you had noticed my - comparatively insignificant - slim five-foot-ten.
You asked me what I was studying and widened your eyes when I ticked off Chemistry, Biology and Maths and told me smart and beautiful were qualities you admired.
I denied them, as is common courtesy for women, because my conscience was still screaming. That they were empty words. That you didn’t mean them.
But you so obviously did with your confident tone and sincere manner with that big smile and flash of your eyes. I could never doubt you whilst I doubted my own naïveté and struggled to put a name to the force that drew me to you.
Two hours went so quickly when I’d never wished them slower and the train thundered into my station. We rose and left together, the rain hitting us instantly and you took my hand and no one hurt my foot.
“I thought your stop was after this?” I wasn’t sure what response I hoped for in return; it wasn’t your nonchalant “I can get a bus nearby”.
I looked up into you baby blues with the edges of your fringe falling into them and blushed, looking down at your collar instead. You reached out and lifted my chin, staring piercingly and saying, “So when am I seeing you again?”
You were still just as cocky but I’ve never known my opinion of an appearance change so drastically and I blinked slowly to be sure of what I was seeing. Since that moment I’ve never thought of you as merely average. I can’t believe I ever really did.