He guessed she was 23 years old, getting a better look at the side of her face from him leaning forward while staring out from the corner of his eye. He thought he was safe from sight as his long hair waterfalled over his eyes. Her face was bright and glowing, maybe from the reading light above her head, but most likely from her bright red lip stick that matched her coat. She reminded him of the girl he always had a crush on, but never gained the courage to introduce himself to, as he sat on a train in Europe introducing himself to the world.....odd how life works. Odd how courage only shows itself when your never expect it. Her eyes flickered to the side catching his, as he threw his back against his seat while ducking his chin downward for shelter and comfort, all while still keeping an eye on hers. Her eyes moved back to her book that laid over her crossed legs. He was caught red handed, and felt so much like a moron that he felt like moving seats away from hers. She was the most beautiful girl in the world, and he was the jobless stalker that had no plans nor goals. Right before he grabbed his army style bag with more pockets than he would ever need, she broke a small smile and soon after started biting her right index fingers nail that of course was painted bright red. She never glanced over this time, but a body language that made his heart race for the first time in a while. His eyes stared forward as if a weight just lifted from his back. His breathing relaxed, and his hands began to stop twitching from bad thoughts. He soon closed his eyes, and fell asleep.
Small chatter swept the train car, as a smell of coffee and buttered bread made its way to his little apartment bench he called home. His forehead hurt from resting it against the window of the train. He missed the sunset which was fine with him, he knew a few good hours of sleep was much needed. The sun blasted through the window making all the lint and dust in front of his face appear clearly. His squinted eyes moved around with his hands feeling his pockets, bag, and passport, yep, everything was intact and still with him. There was one thing he wish he could look for and then touch, the girl. He almost forgot. Before looking over he wiped his eyes and pulled down his wrinkled sweatshirt before the rude realization that she was gone. His hand turned white from him leaning against the seat looking up and down the isles. In an odd way he felt good. He felt they knew each other perfectly, and understood each other better than any. He thought how amazing it was just to have that moment that rang friction between them both. She would from that point on never leave his thoughts.
"Hello.....Sir, are you awake?" The train conductor asked as she leaned over like she was a volleyball player preparing herself for a serve. She had to be at least 6' 2", red hair, and with teeth as long as his travels so far. "Yes, I'm awake," he said snapping out of a day dream of relaxation. Something he was not used to feeling. "We are at our final stop Sir, you must exit the train now". She said with a smile, that ended with more of a hurry up kind of head nod. His head fell back against the seat with such a careless motion. "OK," he said quietly. A street made of rocks met his feet, as the sun hugged his entire body. No where to go, no job to get to, no burgers to flip, no judgmental friend and parents looking down upon him. Just a cobbled street with people who had no idea where he came from, or who he is. His degree no longer mattered, and his athletic ability meant nothing in this big world of compass chasing and soul searching. He must have been in a small farming town. The air was cold, but the sky was bright blue. Green grass filled the hills that supported houses and farm animals. Children were playing tag with a bouncy ball, throwing it at each other to tag one another, he thought this was an odd game, as he hiked his bag up higher around his shoulder beginning to walk forward with nothing but possibility and land that layed in front of him. He walked, thinking of the girl in the red coat, how tall the train conductor was, and how beautiful the landscape was he was walking in. He didn't take the time to ask where he was, because frankly he didn't care. This was the whole point of his journey, to get away from maps, roads, and time. No more nine to five, no more opinions from others. No more gambling on a life that was blocking happiness. A full day of freedom stood in front of him.
The night closed in as he found himself settling down on a bench outside of an old shut down steel mill that looked as if the only life around the area was mold, plants and the occasional deer that would wind itself inside and out of the fallen posts and cracked open walls that once lived and gave a living to so many. His bag as a pillow, and his clear mind as a nighttime song, cool air from the river below, as ringing bells from the fishing boats helped him close his eyes. Some would call this being homeless, but he called it freedom. This is something that he wanted to do. A necessary path in finding himself. What would the next day bring, he asked himself out loud. Who will I meet and what opportunity will I find? How much better will I know myself tomorrow, he asked the bug crawling near his arm that rested under his bag he layed his head on. He knees to his stomach, and his heart as open for the world to see. He fell asleep with freedom by his side.