I still remember the day Mark walked up the platform during my usual morning commute. I knew all the regulars and was used to their faces, but this beautiful stranger was new. It was definitely love at first sight for me. I know that sounds crazy, but that’s how I felt. Over the next few weeks, we coincidentally continued to ride the same train car every morning.
The only problem was, his nose was always stuck in a book.
I had been a jeans and Converse girl up to this point, but I started making more of an effort to dress up in the morning for my commutes. Even my work colleagues knew about him and would regularly ask, “How was ‘Train Man’ today? What was he wearing? Did he look up?” The answer to the last question was always no — he never did.
One morning I purposely dropped my train ticket in front of him, in hopes of striking up a conversation. It took what felt like an hour for him to look up from his book, much less notice my ticket on the ground. Eventually he did pick it up and hand it to me, but I was so nervous, all I said was “thanks” — and that was the whole conversation.
My secret admiration from across the aisle continued for months. Finally, my birthday rolled around, and I decided I should do something bold in honor of my special day. I was still too timid to actually speak to him, so instead I wrote him a letter that I handed to him right before I got off at my stop. That way I didn’t have to watch him read it. In the letter, I asked him out for a drink and wrote down my email address. I spent the rest of the day anxiously awaiting, wondering if he would write me.
Finally, at 5:30, a message appeared in my inbox with the subject line: “The guy on the train.” My heart stopped and I foolishly yelled out to tell my colleagues. Then I read his reply:
“Thank you, that was a lovely thing to do, I never would have had the guts to do something like that. But unfortunately I have a girlfriend and I don’t think she’d like it if we went out for a drink. Happy birthday. Hope you have a nice day.”
And that was that — we went back to being silent commuters on the train.
Eight months later, to my complete and utter surprise, I got an email from him. He was single (he had been for six months) and mentioned he had been thinking of me. Then he asked the question I had waited a year and a half to hear: “Would you like to go out for a drink?”
I think you can guess what my answer was. The next night we met for a drink. The most surprising part of the whole story is that Mark ended up being everything I hoped he would be. There wasn’t a single awkward moment on our first date and we had so much in common.
Three months later, he moved in.
Three years after that, while vacationing in Australia, we took a train — and during that train ride, Mark proposed.
Fast forward to today, we now have two children and our rom-com type love story has been turned into a book. It’s been almost 13 years since our first date — 13 whole years of being smitten with each other. OK, really 14.5 for me, but who’s counting. All I know is I don’t regret any of it because ‘Train Man’ is now my husband and we’re more in love than ever.
My message to anyone reading our story is this: If you’re nervous about making a move, just remember, what’s the worst that can happen? If you’re polite and respectful, then the worst case scenario is they say no — but at least you won’t be left wondering for the rest of your life.
And the best case scenario? You might get lucky and end up with your soulmate, together on the ride of your life.
Zoe’s full story is on Amazon Kindle here.