In a matter of minutes the passenger car was filling with travelers. Businessmen heading home, businessmen heading out for work, college students, curious travelers, confused foreigners hoping they were in the right place despite the fact they wouldn’t have been permitted on board unless they were in the right place, all found seats and places to put their luggage.
With headphones snugly packaged in her ears she swiped her phone looking for the Audible app. She browsed her options, an eclectic mix of biographies, mysteries, chick- and American-lit, and chose The perks of being a wallflower. With all the technology surrounding her, nothing made her more happy than an app that would provide someone reading to her, instead of her reading. Of course, she wished she could decide on something other than what she had already read/heard, but she couldn’t help but returning to her favorites over and over. Perks was a touch depressing, but a quick read that she couldn’t resist hearing. She loved the references to Big Boy, it took her back to the days she would hang out with her high school friends at Bob’s after basketball games and on the weekends.
“Hey,” she heard just as the narrator began with credits and introductions in her ear. Should I fake like I’m listening to music or should I look to see who is speaking and if he is speaking to me?
“Oh,” she said. “Hey.”
“I saw you sitting here with two empty seats beside you. I figured since I had already spoken to you I would sit by someone I know,” Tony said with a smile to indicate the cuteness of his funny comment. She was slightly impressed and returned the smile. “I hope you don’t mind,” he said, not giving her a chance to express if she minded or not. He put his luggage in the overhead compartment, kept his laptop bag so he could put it at his feet and sat down.
“Are you traveling for business or pleasure,” she asked, removing her ear buds and giving in to the imminent conversation.
“I’m going to see my sister, maybe check out a few of the museums. What about you?”
She thought he should know the answer to his own question because she told him she rode the train when in college. The wince on his face after he inquired indicated he realized he asked a stupid question.
“Well, I’m from D.C. but this trip is for business. Sort of. I guess.” As much as she didn’t want to share details, or talk about herself, the more she stumbled meant more explanation. “I’m going on a job interview.”
“Oh, that’s exciting!” he said, his extreme expression a mismatched response. “Do you mind if I ask,” he paused.
Here it comes, she assumed. The dreaded question that leads to a long, laborious discussion she loathed.
“What is your name?”
Relieved the question wasn’t what she expected, she responded, “Lenni.” His inadvertent raised eyebrow reflected confusion. “Lenora. After my dad, Leonard.”
“Great. I think I mentioned before, I’m Tony. Anthony. After my dad, Anthony.” He flashed that smile again, to indicate his response was cute. It worked again. “Lenni, what type of work do you do?”
That was the dreaded question.