Matchmaking on car 5021 heading west on the Bloor line.
It was near rush hour and the subway car was pretty close to full. Standing near to me were a man and a woman. They were so close together that their faces were just inches apart, their bodies merely one breath from touching.
They were about the same age and had a host of similarities, none more striking than that they were both deeply engrossed in a book. Held up in their palms right before their faces, their other hand clutching a railing, the books seemed like silver trays from which they could just blow a puff of words into the other’s face. It was kind of comical, actually, to be so intimate, so open in posture, to be in the midst of so much ready potential, yet to be willfully oblivious and inward in the face of it.
Buffeted about by this train, I will stand and try to read snatches from my book instead of making eye contact with you.
I found them magnetic. I couldn’t take my eyes off of them. They were made for one another! Why couldn’t they see that? Why did they deny it? They were practically in the same sleeping bag!
I could contain myself no longer and said to them, “You two have a lot in common.”
The woman ignored me and the man looked at me the way you’d imagine a man would look at a stranger saying something weird and inappropriate on a subway.
“I just mean the books,” I continued, “you’re both reading so intently, so close together, it looks like you’re sharing the same book. Really, you may as well just hook-up.”
The man looked nervous, shaking his head in the face of a crazy, but the woman seemed amused.
“Thank you, Dr. Phil,” she said.
I shrugged, “ I just call ‘em as I see ‘em.”
The man looked up from his book and at me, “Maybe you should just mind your own business.”
And then from three seats over a guy piped up. “Dudes right, man. It’s like you two are married, just lying back in bed before going to sleep, reading your stories. Shit, you should be together, you won’t find anything better on no eHarmony.”
It was a slightly awkward, if validating situation, and I wasn’t sure what to do so I introduced myself to everyone.
I then asked the man what it was he looked for in a partner. He sighed through his nose.
“I like intelligence and an open-mind. I need loyalty.”
I then asked the woman.
“Oh,” she said, “ I hate those qualities in a person. All I want is somebody who’s a Scorpio!” And then she smiled the smile that would bring the man out of his shell.
“Well that’s funny,” he said, “because I’m a Scorpio!”
The guy from three seats over then said, “Yeah, yeah, and you both listen to CBC radio and like animals. Just go on and fall in love,” and then he motioned to me to come and sit with him and leave them alone, and so I did, and when I got off the subway a few minutes later, they were still talking.