He took the train home at night always following one or two intentional steps behind. A book in hand, perfunctional at work but regressive after he became a legend of time and thought. I seemed to have always caught him unpredictable times like the night I purposely left work about five minutes late knowing he was long gone. I raced across Lankershim and there he stood not moving with styrofoam chinese food in his hand. Every action in his life seemed to have a purpose except when he cut up with Fatale. She was a bumpy haired blonde with predialection of thinking she was condescendingly right and the rest of the world was clueless. It was an inevitable side effect and Telegrind and I was one of those secret religious people she forcefully loathed.
He stood and watched me as I crossed the street, almost seeming to expect me. "I thought you left early" I lightly said, pretending to only half care. "I was out with friends." His eyes bulged, deer struck and brown looking straight through me. I pretended to go about my business, reshuffling my tote bag on my shoulder and walking forward to the next commuter bus. He got on the same train, always about 4 rows ahead of me, depending on the crowd. There was always about 10 people left when I got off on Balboa or Reseda, depending where my bike was. Yes, it was winter and I had no car as I had sold it to work out of town a few months on a political campaign.
His eyes glued to his book, I wisped past him slowly hanging on the hand rests above. I giggled for no reason hoping he would look up.
"Do you live out this way."
"No, I just ride the train for the heck of it."
I llooked at him blankly not thinking it was funny or sarcastic. He didn't seem like a Valley Boy.
"I'm moving soon, back to my mothers upstate. My father died. She needs my help."
Be on your way then I thought. He was into trance dancing and marathon dancing and some other self satisfactory activity that excluded women.
A boy with values who loved his mother. A man heartset on leaving this ugly town.
I go with you then I thought. In my dreams, in that traditional life I sometimes envision.
I go with you.
A month later, he mentioned I could help him pack and then he changed his mind in fear. After all he said, "we never hung out when I lived here."
Two days later, I called his land phone and it was shut off. Was he someone I could have loved. Probably not. We had 2 religious upbringings or outcomes.
I once told him, "Turn or burn." I was blatantly describing my religion in his misinterpreted Buddhist terms. He turned away.