“Thank you for the seat,” the lovely blonde woman smiled politely at the tall, white-haired man who now settled onto the bench next to her. “It’s such a long trip from 59th to 125th Street, you see what I was saying?”
He nodded politely, friendly: “Where are you getting off?”
“207th,” she offered. “Oh, me too!” he agreed. Then, he flashed the cover of his book for her to see. “Do you know who she is?”
It was a biography of a female Tibetan explorer. He explained he was making a movie on the subject, and she was deeply interested in their conversation about Tibet, Eastern exploration, and the lineage of the Dalai Lama.
“Perhaps you’ve seen my other movie, Refuge*.”
“No, I’m sorry, but I’ll hurry right home to look it up on New York Public Library and see if I can put it on hold!”
“Oh, you won’t find it there,” he shook his head knowingly. “My producer hasn’t released it to the library yet. But you can give him a call and tell him I want him to mail you a copy.” He handed her a business card with a photo on it.
“Isn’t that funny! He looks so much like my friend, Elliot Goldberg*. Do you know Elliot?” she asked, as if two strangers could possibly have a friend in common on the A train. But then…
“Oh, Elliot! You’re Elliot’s friend, aren’t you?” he rushed headlong. “Are you Laura*?”
“Yes,” she stammered.
“You don’t remember me?” he asked, no less daunted. “I’m John Humdrum*.”
“Oh, John!” her entire demeanor brightened. “So lovely to see you again! I lost the flower. How careless of me.”
“No worries, I expect you would have lost it by now. I’ve often thought about you, thought about trying to find you. And now we’re neighbors. Isn’t life funny?”
* names have been changed to protect the innocent, and because I don’t think I remembered them all.