I Found Him On The Train Today

I found him on the train today doing his usual Sunday crossword puzzle. The tan jacket was a little out of place, but everything else was just right.

I was so close to sliding into the empty seat next to him, laying my head on his left shoulder, while trying to figure out the answers those ambiguous crossword clues he’s always been so good at figuring out. He would probably chuckle and playfully pinch my nose when I tell him that one of his answers were surely wrong, and say, “That’s what you think young lady.” with a lopsided smile.

I was so close to asking him about the tv series that he usually stays up to watch on most nights, heading to bed way later than his wife’s early bedtime. I wonder if he still watches those reruns of Law & Order, whispering snarky comments to himself about the unsubs.

I sit there across from this stately gentleman, his aura pulling me in and triggering happy tears (silent, for the most part). I almost laugh out loud when I see him wrinkle his nose in that same familiar way, twitching it from side to side.

I was so close to striking up a conversation with this man who was wearing his favorite style of shirt, buttoned all the way up to the top, yearning to hear his distinct speech, caused by that big ’98 stroke.

I was so close to telling him all of what’s happened in my life since we’ve last spoken. I want to tell him of my undergraduate honors, and even more, how I followed in his footsteps and lived in England for a year to complete my Masters degree. I can almost hear him recounting all the usual stories of him as a young Jamaican lad in the Royal Air Force. Maybe even mentioning his small reputation as a ladies magnet, with that mischievous glint in his eye.

I want to tell him how I still carry around the flash drive holding the last pictures I have of him mostly healthy. I still don’t know why it mysteriously stopped working a few days after that summer vacation ended, but I will always hold out hope that it will miraculously begin working again.

I was so close to hugging him tightly, telling him that I miss him more than any words that I could possibly find. I want to tell him about Grandma’s ceaseless grieving, even though she tries to cover it with a faux impenetrable exterior. I want to tell him about my boyfriend, maybe blush a little at how happy and supported I am.

I was so close to telling him all of these things and more, but then the train doors opened and he was lost in the rush within a second.

I found my Grandpa on the train today. I never had the chance to tell him all the ways he is sorely missed.