You would think from my conversations that I must be the most interesting person in the world! This is not the case...I simply meet some of the world's most interesting people while riding the train. These are such kind and charming things sent my way, I treasure them up.
Today an older gentleman by the name of Peregrine, who chattered a million words a minute and smelled of tobacco, asked if I was a musician. I wasn't carrying any music books with me today so I was a little startled. When I asked him how he knew he says, "Oh, I could just tell." Alright then...
Perry, as he insists I call him, asks my name and I give him just my first. "With an E?" he inquires -- yes, I reply, the prettiest spelling -- and he says, "Ah, you must be French." -- No, no, not at all. -- "Well, you don't look American." -- But I am...I get that a lot, though. -- "You look like a Russian princess but you sound like you're from England." -- I, um, well, I hear both of those things too! I'm just a lanky Celt --
He seems tickled with this information but changes the subject faster than you can blink. "That's a pretty rose you have there, I've never seen anything like it." He's referring to my necklace, a tiny metal rose with hammer-beaten leaves. -- thank you, it was a present -- "From a special someone, I think?" -- oh, no, I haven't the time for that -- "Ah, so you're going to be a stubborn one then. That's good. Men are so irresponsible these days...too bad I'm not forty-five years younger."
He waves to me as he gets off the train, "Bye, Anne! See you around!"
Lots of people have been listening, soft chuckles and smiles are all about me. A young man is seated directly across from me and keeps catching my eye like he's about to say something, but he doesn't. He has an open, pleasant face and wears a long sleeved shirt on this warm day -- when he rests his chin on his hand the sleeve pulls back to reveal ugly, knotted scars along his wrist. I don't stare, but he evidently wants to say something and since he's watching me he notices my eyes flick away --
"I just had my tattoos removed today," his voice is full of happiness and he gives me a stupendous smile.
"WOW," is all I find myself saying. He bares about two inches of his arm, the skin is bubbled and grey like some kind of horrible burn. "It looks....painful!" He just keeps smiling. I wonder if he's going to speak and after an awkward enough pause I venture, "So, why did you decide to remove them?"
That smile is ridiculous. "Because," he says, "I'm a Christian now." Such an unexpected answer, all I can do is smile back! Less than a minute later the train slows to the a stop and he stands up. "I'm very responsible, too." My expression makes him laugh and he waves his hand at me in the finger-waggling way that Peregrine did: "Bye, Anne!"