Saturday, August 16, 2014

I got the idea for this story based on a true event. Keep in mind the story itself, including characters and plot, is pure fiction.

Lauren tried to ignore the excessive ringing of her cell as she gobbled down her dinner. She finally glanced down, saw the name Nina, and promptly picked it up.
“ Oh my god, go on facebook. You’re not going to believe this.  This guy from work posted this horrid picture of you! ” screamed Nina.
 “What? Who? “
 “His name is Jack. I don’t know him that well,  always thought he was nice until today. Anyway, see if you can find him on facebook. Go to my friends list. Its the only Jack I have as a friend.”
 Lauren shoved a brussel sprout in her mouth while pulling up facebook on her computer.  She hated facebook but got an account to stay connected to some of her friends who live in California.
 She almost choked  when she saw a picture of herself on the train  stuffing her face with a veal parmigiana sandwich.  The caption read “ Look at this clueless idiot.”
  She remembered she left work late yesterday due to a last minute phone call from her ex husband yelling at her about their divorce proceedings.  Her boss reprimanded her for handing in an important assignment late.  She was rushing across 42nd street , her eyes glued on the flashing don’t walk sign when she tripped over the curb, lost her balance and landed flat on her backside, giving her a nasty bruise.
When her achy body finally sunk into the seat on the train at Grand Central , she plopped her oversized purse onto  the seat next to her.  She knew it would be minutes before another passenger would want that seat.  The 5:37 train always filled up quickly. She hastily took her veal parmigiana wedge  out of her bag and salivated as she took her first bite. She skipped lunch and thought she would faint if she didn’t put some food in her stomach.
The melted cheese burned her tongue but her taste buds did a little happiness dance.  As she opened her water bottle she heard a voice.
“Excuse me, can I sit here?” said a well dressed man in his forties.  He wore a classy gray suit and horn rimmed glasses . He had sparkling blue eyes that made her heart skip a beat. His ring finger was noticeably bare.
 “Sure,” said Lauren as she tried to put her bag on the floor while juggling her sandwich and water, thinking to herself “what a cutie, this may be my lucky day after all.”
She got a whiff of a sensual musky  odor as the man sat down. She fantasized that she was cuddling in his strong arms  while he caressed her shoulder and rubbed his fingers through her hair.
 As she organized her bag and sandwich she stayed grounded in this wonderful fantasy. Like a balloon being punctured with a needle, she was jolted from her fantasy as the water slipped from her hand and the cap flew off. A steady stream of water poured onto the man’s lap.
“Jeez!”  he said as he jumped out of his seat.
Lauren quickly gave him her napkin. “ I’m so sorry.”
He glared at her as if she committed a cardinal sin, rolled his eyes, and stormed away, ending her delusional daydream.  This day was steadily going downhill . She closed her eyes and  shoved the sandwich in her mouth. That must have been when he took the picture. And now posted it on facebook! He probably had no idea they had a mutual friend. She thought only teenagers were bullied on Facebook , not 40 year old adults !
She wanted revenge. She would look for him on the train and take his picture while he was picking his nose or some other embarrassing habit.  Of course he was probably very conservative and would never engage in any unorthodox behavior on a train.
“I can’t believe I actually was excited when he sat next to me,” she thought.
All night she obsessed about getting even. She woke up several times creating scenarios in her head.  She would post pictures of him on facebook scratching his butt or smiling with spinach and seeds  stuck in his teeth.  When she finally fell asleep she had a dream that she confronted him on the train, yelling at him as the rest of the passengers cheered.
The next evening she ran for the train, with thoughts of getting even swirling in her head. She squeezed through the doors of the train as they were closing. She looked around at the harried commuters as she walked down the aisle looking for a seat. Luck was on her side as she saw an empty seat next to a pimply teenage boy with headphones on.  As she sat down and got settled, she  saw Jack sitting diagonally across from her.  Anger boiled up inside her like a firecracker ready to explode. She thought how this was the perfect opportunity to confront him. She immediately texted Nina “Jack is on the train. I’m going to say something, wish me luck!”  
“Tickets please”. She looked up to see the conductor, a bearded heavyset man who scowled at her.
Lauren opened her purse and gasped out loud. She panicked as she realized her wallet was missing, which not only had her train ticket but her credit cards and cash.
“Tickets ma'am”, he said loudly.
Lauren face was the color of a ripe tomato as she said, “ I am so sorry, oh my god, my wallet. its not here. someone must have pickpocketed me.”
“ I’m sorry miss but you need to get off the train if you can’t pay.  You can always file a police report.”
Lauren couldn’t believe the lack of compassion that this conductor had. She still had her phone but who was she going to call? How would she get home? Tears welled up in her eyes, as she got up.
“ Here, she can use my ticket. I still have room on it.”
She looked up and was shocked to see Jack offering her a ticket.
“OK, thanks,” she muttered, wiping her tears with her sleeve. The conductor impatiently took the ticket and continued his journey down the aisle.
“I’ll pay you back,” she stammered at the same moment her phone dinged that she had a text. She looked down and saw Nina’s response to her earlier text, “Well, did you yell at him? What happened? I’m dying here, lol”.
She looked up at Jack and said, “Hey, thanks again for saving me today. “
He smiled at her.
Yesterday was a distant memory as she took a deep breath and said, “ Maybe I can take you out for coffee one day ? ”
He said, “Sure, that would be nice. What’s your name by the way?”
“Lauren Miller. Here is my card,” she said as she handed him her business card with her phone number and email address.
As he  walked back to his seat, she said, “You can also send me a facebook friend request.”.
His face changed color quickly and became the color of  a plump cherry as he muttered , “OK.”
She knew that remark would guarantee that he would take down the picture . She sat down in her seat and smiled for the first time today.

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