I’ll See You On Friday
It was around 5 o’clock in the afternoon when I got off from work. When your office is located at the central of business in the country, there’s no secret that going home is a battle of wits and endless strategy. Whether you take the train, bus or a service shuttle—it will always be an hour or two commute. Riding the train for me is like getting forced to watch the Twilight movies. The first time you do it, you kind of feel guilty of watching, then you keep convincing yourself it’ll be over soon and tough it out the rest of the way. But by the third or fourth movie, you just really don’t care anymore.
Commuting during a Monday is just physically draining. The weekend feels like a 2 year wait and everything moves two times slower than usual. After I said goodbye to the security guard at the door of our office, I decided to walk going to the train station. In my country, my favorite time of the year is January. It’s colder than any month on the calendar considering we only have two seasons. Hot, and f*cking hot… Walking on a late afternoon during January is always therapy for me. People in general favor this weather too—either that or they are just really excited to get home to their families.
I went down the stairs of the train station and bought my ticket. From there, I get off on the 9th station. If the train follows schedule accordingly, that’s a solid 20-30 minute train ride.
My mind kept wondering from work related things to senseless matters like why I use my hands too much when I’m talking to someone. I mean sometimes I feel so insecure on what to do with them that I end up looking like an air piano player.
I reached the platform and as usual there is a sea of people waiting for the next train. I kept walking trying to choose a spot with fewer passengers then suddenly I heard music playing.
There was a girl with a guitar seated on the floor singing. She isn’t asking for money or anything. She was just comfortably performing I guessed, for all the people waiting for the train. I squeezed my way through the front to get a good look at her. She was wearing a long gray skirt almost covering her red and white rubber shoes. Her simple white shirt occasionally gets wrinkled whenever she strums her guitar. The cotton bonnet on her head hides her beautiful short black hair.
Without even trying, I was immediately enchanted by her adorable appearance and her wonderful voice. She was singing a very cheerful and catchy bossa nova love song. People were nodding along to her song while I try to contain myself from this excessive smiling. She stood and goes on to a somewhat fading chorus trying to get the people to sing the outro lyrics.
The train approaches while the crowd clapped merrily for the talented singer. Some even tried to give her money but she charmingly smiled and waved all the offers off as if saying that listening to her was more than enough. The train made a swoosh sound as it halted on beside the platform. I looked back and saw the girl fixing her guitar case on the ground and placing her guitar inside. “Isn’t she getting on the train?” I thought to myself. My left foot was already inside the train but I decided I’ll take the next one instead.
I approach the guitar player, “That was a great song,” I said. Two snaps came from her guitar case as she closed it while still sitting there. She brushed off the dust on her skirt before she stood and looked at me for the very first time.
“Hiro,” I said.
“Nice to meet you Hiro. I’m Kimberly,” she replied while extending her right hand for a handshake.
We shook hands and there was a brief moment of silence. “What should I say next?” I thought to myself.
“Do you live around here?” She asked.
“No, I was actually about to ride the train but I thought you needed some help with your guitar.”
“Do you want to take a walk?” I offered. Looking back, I think it was too eager on my part.
Nevertheless, she accepted and we went up the stairs and started walking away from the station.
She preferred to walk on the edge of the curb what looks like to be a playful exercise for her to practice her balance. She will raised both of her arms sideward and tilting from left to right like an unsettled airplane. I was holding her guitar all throughout our walk. I stayed near just in case she fall.
“Do you want to have supper?” She broke the silence.
“Yeah, I was just about to ask you,” I replied.
“I know a good place three blocks away from here,” she said while pointing forward to the horizon. “If you don’t mind walking a bit more,” she continued…
We get to the place she was talking about. It was a fine Asian themed restaurant with tatami mats and low tables. I had some fried noodles and some pork on the side. She ordered a bowl of beef ramen which she silently enjoyed. All the while I was still thinking why was she so accommodating and frankly why would she agree to have dinner with someone she met off the street. I tried to shrug it off as I down my second bottle of beer.
After we ate and got outside, she grabbed her guitar from me then gripped my hand as well. She started running and dragging me with her.
A bit confused, “Are we supposed to be running after we just ate? Isn’t that bad?”
“What’s your point?” She replied.
Next thing I knew we were back on the train station climbing down to the platform. A bit lost for air, “Do you perhaps want to meet again?” I managed to say. I was facing her with my back on the tracks. She removed her bonnet for the very first time. She fixes her hair from the back a bit irritated that the bonnet flatten it out. “Do you want to meet on Friday?” she asked while looking at me intently.
“I was thinking tomorrow,” I said confidently.
I heard the train approaching. Kimberly looked to her left then to her watch.
“Do you want to meet here again tomorrow, same time?” I offered. There was still no response from her. I looked back and the train was already there. She was looking at me as if wondering what I was still doing there standing idly in front of her. I was starting to feel insecure, “Can I ask why you agreed to be with me?”
She responded by saying, “Because you helped me with my guitar.” She then lightly pushed me inside the train while she still stood on the other side. “You can’t miss the last train,” she said. “I’ll see you on Friday—,” she stopped her sentence then tries to imitate my voice she said, “I mean tomorrow.” She smiled while hugging her guitar case and waved at me as the train door closes…
Kim Franco copyright 04-27-2014