Isla was having a very animated discussion with a person the train about theatre and people who don’t take comedy seriously have never read Shakespeare.
Sergei couldn’t take his eyes off Isla as she went about talking to a stranger about French neoclassic.
Her stop came and Isla had to tear herself from the conversation and got off the train bidding her new-found friend in the train goodbye. Sergei, instinctively got off too and went behind Isla. He kept following her to the street when she suddenly turned towards Sergei.
“I have a pepper spray”, she said
“I love you”, he replied
Isla was taken aback but quickly regained her bearings and stood ready to attack this tall man with smiling brown eyes if necessary.
“I won’t hesitate to use the spray”, she said taking it out of her pocket.
“There will be no need for that. I’m Sergei”, he said and without an apology added “I love theatre and comedy too”.
“So you heard me in the train and decided to propose?”
“What is wrong in that?” he asked, then began laughing with a booming baritone voice “I was just trying to throw you off a little. Thought a comedian like you would appreciate it. I actually only came up to ask you where will you be performing. I gathered you were an actor from your conversation with the person in the train but didn’t know where I could catch you performance.”
“Oh”, said Isla moving the pepper spray back to her pea-coat pocket and held out a card for Sergei with her other hand “This is the theatre I perform at. The timings are given there.”
“Thank you. I’ll definitely watch your play tomorrow.”
Isla nodded with a smile and began to walk away. “See you tomorrow then”, she said.
“Wait! Let me walk you home”
With one hand still on the pepper spray inside her pocket, Isla said, “That won’t be necessary. I’ll be fine.”
“Please, it is cold and dark. Let me walk you home.”
Isla could see the sincerity in his smiling brown eyes and couldn’t help but let the tall man give her company. Their 20 minute walk down the street was peppered with discussion on theatre and comedy and soon they reached the other street.
“Well, good night! I’ll see you tomorrow”, said Sergei
“Goodnight Sergei”, said Isla.
The next day, Isla and her co-actors were performing at the theatre when she heard a distinct booming baritone laughter among the crowd. She looked around without breaking her performance to see Sergei sitting at the right side corner, wiping tears off his eyes while laughing his heart out.
That night after the play, Sergei was waiting for Isla outside the theatre.
“You made it Sergei!”
“Yes, I did and you were wonderful”
He walked with her to the train station and shared a train ride and a walk to her house. He didn’t ask her to give her company and she didn’t say no to him. Thus started a new story.