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He stood right next to me on the 59th Street subway platform, waiting for the A Express.

I kept stealing glances at him sideways, getting glimpses of his sandy blonde hair, his strong, defined chin, his broad chest. Out of the corner of my eye, I could swear he was peeking at me too.

Such is the way of the Subway Romance. We steal looks at a cute boy, the cute boy steals looks at us, and then one of us gets off at a different stop than the other, and it’s over. Parting is such sweet sorrow.

The next train bellowed into the station—the D train. (Go ahead, make your D train jokes, I’ve heard them all.) The six-foot-tall boy next to me stepped forward as the door opened—then looked back at me, right in the eye, and smiled, before going inside and sitting down.

My heart skipped a beat. So he WAS looking at me too—I knew it. And there it was—our Subway Romance was over. The doors beeped, and shut.

And then… they opened. I heard the conductor: “Ladies and gentlemen, we are being held momentarily in the station. Thank you for your patience.” My eyes widened, and my heartbeat quickened—I opened up my leather Marc Jacobs messenger bag and quickly ruffled through it, tossing aside gum and pens and little notebooks. Finally, I found it—my stainless steel, monogrammed business card case. I opened it up—empty. FUCK. I’d gone to an event the night before, slipped the cards into another bag so I wouldn’t have to carry the case, and didn’t put them back.

BUT WAIT! I had just printed out my schedule at work, which had my name and phone number on the side. The subway door remained open, taunting me, ready to close at any moment. I shuffled through, finding the crumpled up paper, hands shaking as I tore a square around my name and number. I’d done it!

In a flash, I jumped into the car—tall boy looked up at me, that same smile spreading across his face. That smile filled me with butterflies. “Here,” I said, handing him the paper. It slipped through his hands, and I bent over awkwardly to pick it up—“Stand clear of the closing doors,” the conductor said. I threw the paper into his lap and leapt off of the train, just in time.

It was the first time I’d given out my number to someone I thought was cute on the subway: I felt liberated. He even texted me, but when I looked up his number on Facebook and stalked his profile, I saw he already had a boyfriend, and stopped messaging him. Maybe there’s a reason our Subway Romances stay on the subway. Or maybe I’ve just been taking the wrong train.

@ianmichaelinwonderlan

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