As usual it was a busy hour at 5 pm in North EDSA train station. Everyone was fighting their way to the place they wanted to be. Everyone wanted to go home.
The crowd getting in line at the station’s platform started to grow. Louise, a 25 year old woman in a pale pink dress and white hat, was first in line to finally enter the train when it arrived. Unlike everyone, she was not as enthusiastic at the idea of going home that afternoon. There’s some other place she wanted to be. But Louise knew that she has to go home already because someone is waiting for her and that’s where she was supposed to be.
The train came and got filled in fast in a second. Louise chose not to sit and went to the end most part of the rail car. The people behind her were eager to get in that she was pushed even more facing the glass window separating the rail car she was in and the other rail car next to it.
A year ago, Louise was in the exact same spot she was right now. That’s where she met this incredible person with his curly brown hair and his wide smile that he always gives to anyone. Louise remembers it well when he gave that smile to her across the rail car he was in to the rail car where she was standing. She could pretty much look at anything beyond the glass window of the train but all she saw was him pulling a sticky note from his bag and writing the words “Are you okay?” then sticking it to the glass window just to comfort a sad-looking stranger like her.
But that’s all in the past now. Louise sometimes even wish she never took notice of him among the big crowd of passengers.
Everything would have been easier if she didn’t, because she wouldn’t be wanting to see him again in front of her this bad right now when she knows she couldn’t anymore.
But then there he came. Among the crowd inside the rail car she was facing, a tall figure with brown curly hair struggled his way to the end of the rail car, to face Louise.
Exactly two glass windows and 2 feet of metal that connects the rail cars they were in are what separate the air they breathe but Louise could still feel his gaze on her skin. She does not know if she should back out and hide among the crowd of passengers or just let it be and see him for the last time. The train stopped by three stations already when Louise realized what she chose, and it was to look at him and him to look at her even with that space in between.
He finally broke their wordless conversation when he pulled out a familiar blue sticky notepad and wrote, “Where are we going down?” He stuck it on the glass for Louise to read. It took seconds for her to decide if she would answer but then she still pulled out a purple sticky notepad and wrote the question, “We?”
He replied: “Yes, we.”
Louise: “Are you sure you would want to come with me?”
He said: “Yes, but only if you would want me to.”
Louise hesitated to reply again. A few seconds flew and she coldly answered, “I’m going down at Boni Station.”
The train slowed down and the train announcer said, “Arriving at Ortigas Station.”
Both of them looked at the door, then to each other. Louise knew exactly that they both want to get off on this station, the same station where they first went down together and walked to the nearest Starbucks to grab a coffee. But then none of them moved until the train went off again.
He continued writing, “I need to get off on the next station.”
Louise: “I know.”
He said: “I could get off at Boni.”
Louise: “That’s not where your home is.”
He wrote: “Then go down with me at Shaw.”
Then on another paper he wrote: “It could be your home.”
Then on another: “I could hold your hand.”
Then on another: “I won’t let go.”
Then on another: “’Til we get away from the crowd.”
Then on another: “’Til we get off from this place.”
Then on another: “Just let me.”
After reading the last note, Louise had to turn her back for him not to see the tears falling down. Shaw Boulevard is not the place for her to go down, Louise thought. But why are tears coming from her eyes? Why does it feel like the place she wanted to go down at? If it was not the right decision, why did it feel right at that moment?
Louise wished that the MRT train would get stuck again in the middle of the rail just like it has always been. She wanted to stay there with him for as long as time and crooked destiny would allow. But the train just won’t fuck up, not this time. So right then Louise may have completely lost her mind. She was ready to go with him. She was ready to leave the ride, to stop going straight and to just take the other route.
The train slowed down. She wiped the tears from her eyes. The doors opened. She turned her back.
But he was there no more.
She looked at the door, but before she could attempt to get off, people started to flood in, burying her deep to the side of the train farther from the door, as if telling her it’s too late.
Maybe it was her failure to choose him right away when he asked, or maybe because they are not meant to go down at the same place anymore.