The train pulled up to the station as I looked out the window
From one minute to the next
across the aisle he appeared
and folded his long lean legs into the small seat
His arms full of newspapers
folded into skinny columns
Watching him read so intently
made me curious
I noticed by body involuntarily lean in his direction
His eyes soft grey blue
like looking at the ocean when a storm is due to arrive
But not a turbulent shade
One that holds a hue of light
A promise that the sun will soon follow
His lashes pointed downward
long and straight over his gloved eyes
His hair silver and thick and cut short
And his hands long and slender
with sloping oval nails
and elegant ropey veins snaking up his arms
I noticed in a few fleeting moments I was staring
He would feel my eyes on him and would look to meet my gaze
I had to force myself to look away
All of this on an ordinary Sunday afternoon as he perhaps returned from a weekend away
And then someone spoke to him
and I heard his voice
deep and soft with a lilt
As he spoke I noticed his mouth
a row of bottom teeth
imperfectly folded on top of one another
But those small imperfections
signs of age
the lines around his eyes from smiling that I want to trace with my fingertip
the bags under his eyes from reading too late
the small paunch over his belt
the skin on his neck
soft and translucent
peeking out of his long sleeved black tshirt
Aren't these the very things that we wish for others to love about us?
He probably won't remember this hour in his life
where a stranger on a train sat diagonal from him
He won't know for that eternal hour I drank in every detail of him
Wondered from my seat what is favorite book is?
How his bottom lip would taste if it was bitten softly?
Wondered if he started or ended his day in someone's arms?
And as I wondered
the train pulled into a station and the sign read "Exeter"
and he was gone
And I wasn't brave enough to say anything
Perhaps, my illusion was better than the truth?
Oh, but what if for once,
every single flaw
made a human being so goddamned endearing
that we didn't need the illusion of "perfect" anymore?