I had woken early. That always annoyed me, I like my sleep and to think that I had been cheated out of even a minute of it just didn't seem fair. To me there is nothing more annoying that waking up just a few minutes before the alarm went off. I had turned off the alarm without seeing what time it was. It was a small win, but hey, I will take anything!
You may wonder why I hate that so much. Well, ever since I was young, being awake meant getting out of bed. I don't know why, but to me, once you were awake, there didn't seem to be any point in delaying the next step - to get up. To say it used to annoy my girlfriends was an understatement. I say used to, as it had been a very long time since I had last gone out with anyone, let alone even dated. Being burnt by a cheating girlfriend - one of those horror stories where everyone but you knows - meant that I avoided relationships like a plague.
As I had laid there for the few seconds before I threw back the covers, I had realised that I felt good. Not 'best night of sleep ever' good, but rather 'it's going to be a good day' good. 'Everything is going to be okay' good. 'Man has just cured cancer and we can do anything' good.
I remember that I had paused after I had swung my legs around to put my feet on the floor to ponder this feeling. I hadn't felt like this for a long time, and I hadn't been able to put any 'reason' to this feeling, but I had enjoyed it.
The shower had been hot, and with the slightly early rising I had decided to enjoy a slightly longer shower than usual. I am no metrosexual, but I do have a loofah. I find it nice every now and then to give my skin a proper scrub. Before you go and pass judgement, one of my best friends as a joke for my birthday had given me a 'ladies pamper pack' that included some body washes, soaps and the loofah.
I got him back though, with some flowers delivered to him at work - naturally the card read 'thanks for a wonderful night, love mike'. He still bitches about the crap he had to put up with in the weeks afterwards. Getting out of the shower I smirked at my appearance in the mirror. Between the hot water and the scrubbing, my skin was as pink as a new born baby. I looked like a schmuck.
After a getting dressed (double windsor and all!) I had enjoyed a bowl of cereal while reading the newspapers online. It was the usual stuff, world about the end, etc., etc., but the Dilbert comic really got me, and I had enjoyed a chuckle as I forwarded it to my dad. He works for the government in an office, and it just seemed to perfectly encapsulate his most recent workplace gripe to me.
Although it was raining as I left home I had enjoyed the feeling of walking to the railway station in the drizzle. I consider myself slightly 'sick of the mind' in that I enjoy the rain. I don't know whether it is a 'cleansing' thing, or what else it may be, but either way, I have always greatly enjoyed watching people go to great efforts to avoid the rain. On this particular morning I had been given many options to laugh at peoples antics. It's just rain people!
Anyway, after swiping at the barrier I had headed up to the platform smiling at a few of the regulars. It is funny how you can stand on the same platform with someone year in and year out yet not know a thing about them. Some of my colleagues like to give them names and guess at things like their occupation, but I like to just smile and nod. I figure that the majority of people just want to be left alone, after all the anonymity of a large city is one of its best attributes, as far as I am concerned. On this particular day, the previous train had been cancelled so the platform was more crowded than usual.
I had headed to my usual spot about a third of the way down the platform to wait the next train. I liked this spot as it allowed me to exit the train at my stop directly in front of the stairs. Although there were three sets of escalators and a lift at my destination station, I knew I could get to work in half the time if I used the stairs - people these days seemed to consider them an 'emergency only' option.
Anyway, as I had stood there lost in my own thoughts, I had started to notice a lovely lavender smell coming from near me. Now to me, lavender was associated with love. My grandmother used to always smell of it and I had loved her more than anyone in the world until she had died. It spoke of comfort, of warmth, and most importantly of empathy. As any well trained man will do, I started to look around me in a deliberately innocent matter hoping to determine the source. You know how it works, someone near me would cough, and I would use it as an 'excuse' to look casually in their direction, before shifting my gaze slowly and deliberately back to boring artwork on the station wall opposite me.
By the third 'excuse' I had worked out where the smell was coming from. It was emanating from a delightful looking young lass about a 3 feet to the right of where I was standing. She was probably only 19 or 20, and she had that young innocence that you only have in your first few years of a working life. She was dressed immaculately with a cute little tailored suit combo with electric blue 3 inch heels. Probably some office temp, I thought with amusement. In true 'dirty old man' style, I was wondering whether that was the only thing she was wearing in that colour.
Dirty old man? Check.
All up, she probably stood about 5'4" and she just radiated a young innocence that got me thinking lots of naughty thoughts. Out of the corner of my eye I watched her for a minute or two and found it curious that she seemed so fidgety and nervous. First day jitters? I hadn't seen her before, and I was pretty sure I would have noticed! Being a dirty old man at just 32, I decided to sidle closer to her so as to enjoy her fragrance just a bit more. At least that is what I told myself.
As I had slowly inched towards her (you know, the usual 'adjusting' of your pose, a step to the right, feigned interest in something that can only be seen from the new position, etc.), I had heard the traditional Nokia tone. You know the one, used almost exclusively by old people who struggle to change anything on their mobile phone - who are deathly afraid of even venturing into any setting area in fear of 'breaking' anything.