You don’t know me, and I don’t actually know you, but we’ve been in each other’s lives now for almost 7 years.

You get on my train on a morning.
It’s not really mine though, not for much longer anyway. I supposed you think of it as yours. Let’s it call it ours for now.

Maybe you haven’t noticed me but I have noticed you. I don’t mean this to come across as creepy but when you get the same train every day it’s hard not to remember the regular faces.

I noticed how you were always dressed so smartly, with what the middle-aged person in me can only describe as a ‘trendy vibe’. It always struck me that you looked like you should be getting on the big train to London rather than the rickety old thing to Leeds.

Then one day I saw you were reading some sort of optical textbook. Something about eyes and how they work. I assumed you were studying biology something.

At some other point along our crossing paths I saw you in one of the opticians in Leeds. I just happened to glance that way one lunchtime and there you were chatting to a customer. It all started to make sense. That’s why you were reading that text book. You’re clearly training to become an optician or maybe an optometrist (as a non-glasses wearer I don’t really know the difference).

6 and a half years is a long time, even in 20 minute train journey chunks and over that time I formulated a little story in my head for you. A story where your ambition in life is to pass your eye checking exams and move to the big city.

There you’ll get a job as an assistant optician to start with and save up all your wages while living in a tiny little flat. You progress up the ranks all the time squirrelling the money away into your savings account. Then it happens. You get called in by the big boss. He wants to promote you to be branch manager. You’ll get a massive pay rise. You’ll have your own office. You’ll be in charge of everyone. Free glasses for life!

And you say no.

You turn down this amazing opportunity because it’s not your dream. You turn it down because that very same day you secured a deal on a little shop of your own. Your dream boutique opticians. That’s why you saved all your money up. That’s why you always worked extra shifts. That’s why you used to get the train into Leeds everyday to make this possible.

This probably isn’t your dream, the chances of it even vaguely resembling your life is minimal. But I want to tell you that I will miss seeing you on the train, that I will occasionally remember you and think ‘I wonder what The Man With Glasses is doing now?’ If opening a boutique opticians in London isn’t your dream, I hope you get whatever it actually is.

Anonymous Train Stalker.