by The Bat
She met him on the train.
| Lisa was on the train with her ear-buds in. Blake, her brother had told her he could hear her music even on low volume. That was not her concern today, her parents weren't with her and she could listen to the nastiest lyrics, anybody who didn't like it, could just give her some space. It was daylight, hence the bright overhead lights were set to dim. Lisa was surprised by how much the inside of a train looked like the inside of an airplane. She couldn't believe she had flown in an airplane probably 20 times, before discovering this. Now this was the way to travel.
Lisa briefly considered going to the dining court, her parents had given her forty dollars to spend. Usually she didn't carry cash at all. She convinced herself that she would only order coffee, most of the food that came from the dining court looked days old and burnt, the airplanes had the upper hand on this one, and trains needed to start serving beef bourguignon or at the very least soup that looked like it was fresh. It was okay though, on her last day of school, she spent nearly five dollars in the vending machine and got sweet and sours, now and laters, a bag of Lay's, and a bag of Cheetohs. That and coffee, what else could a girl ask for?
So, she made her way down to the Cafe looking at her watch to determine how much time had passed since she left, so she wouldn't spend all of her money right away. The car was busy loud and had what seemed like people at every table. There was a line for food, something that looked like it belonged at one of her brothers softball games. She looked at her surroundings, one table was in the middle of an intense card match. They had colorful Canadian dollars on the table, held down by fountain glasses. She looked at another table with eight occupants, four on each side of the table, four girls and four boys, who were chatting with each other, and presumably flirting. There was a boy, and his dad, assembling a plane in another. What looked like a bored wife and husband, one filling in a coloring book, the other making circles in the paper. Then she saw the table she would sit at, if nobody else did before her; it was another teen, classically handsome, working on his computer. God, she thought, why won't this line hurry up.
Waiting another three minutes, what seemed like hours to her, as she watched the boy type away, unconsciously she would follow the line forward, until she heard, "What will you be having today?" She looked up and saw the most bored, unhappy face on the train.
She spoke up well for her age, and Lisa said, "How's the coffee?"
The ugly face replied, "Have you ever had Mississippi mud?"
"You're in for a treat then." The woman turned around, and picked a pot of coffee out well a used machine, something that looked like it belonged in a poor mans eatery. "There anything else I can get you?" She asked the girl.
"Well," Lisa stayed put a moment, wondering if she ought ask the woman's advice, "How long has he been there typing?"
The frowning server perked up, and almost laughed, "At least as long as you been in this line, honey, and he's only been noticing you staring at him."
She quickly left the line, embarrassed by the response. She was going to approach the boy, only her cheeks were red now.
Now, or never; she told herself, and sat across from the cute boy. "Perfect day for typing?" She asked pleasantly.
"Never seen one that ain't." The boy replied coyly.
"Are you a writer?" She pushed further, hoping he was, it would make for a good conversation.
"I'm writing now. I guess that makes me a writer." He looked up, and was astonished by her blue eyes, they were crystal clear, and oddly shiny.
"Well, what I meant was, do you do it for fun, or just so that you can sit by yourself?"
"I am too humble to say that I write for any cause, in that sense I do it for fun." He smiled at her, only now realizing the awkward nature of their conversation. "How's that coffee doing you? I tried it last night, it tasted like the grounds she made it from."
"Really?" She responded cutely, "I haven't had it yet. So, how long 'ya been sitting there for?" She was trying to adapt the boys meter of talking.
"Seems like all my life." He held his hand out to her politely, "My name's Jeb."
She almost lost it. Here it was 2021 and a mother called her son Jeb. It must really take all sorts. She shook it, it was not very often she shook hands, "My names Lisa."
"Now that's a name," Jeb said joyously. "Well, Lisa, I just want you to know, I go to church on Sunday, and it's polite of me to let you know I have a girlfriend. Just wanted to put that up front. I ain't seen one prettier than you on this train, and I've got to keep my ethics."
"Well, Jeb," She said slowly, "My boyfriend is Jesus, and I'd never risk our relationship for any boy."
"You're a christian?" He raised his eyebrows, in a surprised way.
"Damn tootin." She said. The both of them laughed.
"Where are you from Jeb?"
"Well, originally from Kentucky, but I want to go to California and become an actor."
"Where are you wagons west?" She asked trying to be funny, and then a short laugh she said, "Circle the wagons! Jebs gonna be an actor!"
He frowned. "Has anybody ever told you that you have a way about you?"
"Well, Lisa, it was nice talkin to ya, but I gotta get back to work."