riding 4 trains a day i have had my fair share of sharing a seat with 'the drunk guy' or 'the wasted guy'; sometimes i fear i am a magnet for such people.
what bothers me the most is that despite him acting drunk, he didn't smell like a drunk and he didn't smell like weed, so i was already confused. he was walking past me to another seat, stopped, backed up, put his face very near to mine, and asked if he could sit next to me. i told him he could sit across from me (there were plenty of other open seats to sit in NOT close to me). there was something about him that was off, that immediately put me on my guard.
he didn't speak much english, but my attempts to waive him off with my standard "désolé, je ne parle pas français" did not work. he told me 'for you, i will try my best to speak english'. (great.)
i tried to nonchalantly indicate that i was VERY into my new French Elle magazine in my hands, but he just kept putting his face closer to mine and trying to talk.
(fine. i'll be nice.)
we got through names. yes, i'm from america. he's from rwanda. the handshake (thank God it wasn't the 'kiss hello') he started pushing me for my number and saying i could teach him english and he could teach me french. (um, no) maybe we could stop at the next station and hang out a bit, i could teach him some english? (no) we could just be friends, and he could call me? (no) he could be my boyfriend? (no. as i repeat, again, that i have a husband and 2 children i love very much). when can we see eachother again? (probably never). what is this word 'probably'? (it means no. very much no)
this whole time he is staring at me very intently. (very). you know, the kind that makes you so uncomfortable that you envision clawing the other person's eyes out so they can't look at you anymore? that kind of staring.
at this point i could tell i needed to steer the conversation elsewhere (especially after he grabs my hand and holds it to his face).
so i ask him where he's going (antwerp). where he works (for a university). where he lives... this is where he gets all upset out of nowhere and must assume i am insinuating that he is a refugee. he is no refugee he assures me and crosses his arms and turns his body away from me. do you have family? he gets teary eyed and tells me they were all killed in rwanda. (great.)
now part of me wants to pray for him and part of me wants to jump off at the next stop and take my chances with the next train. i do neither. (God, what am i supposed to do here? this guy is creeping me out. he doesn't speak much english. i don't speak much french. is he really hurting or is he just playing a role? why is he so creepy? whaaaaaaaaaaaat?!!)
drama evaporates after a few (even more akward) silent minutes and he is back to trying to hold my hand and get my number. denied. he starts talking to the guy in the seat next to us. apparently he's missed his stop while chatting me up. (sigh.)
then i can tell he's saying something about me to the other guy. i look at 'other guy' and raise my eyebrows.
"he says you are a... (long pause while he tries to find the right word)... nice, girl.'"(yeah, i bet that's what he said and yes, dammit, i AM a nice girl).
thankfully by then, my stop (my glorious stop) is up next and as i head to the door, he grabs my arm and asks me for my phone number. (nope) my calling card. (nope)
and with a final shake of my head and a smile i walk (run) out the door. i have never been so happy to see Diegem station in all my life.