Isaac eyed the blond girl sitting opposite him in the carriage. Only the two of them were riding the tube to Golders Green in the early afternoon. The blond girl was rather gorgeous, Isaac thought. He fancied blondes, and this girl was so exquisitely, whitely blond that he was enthralled. He really should make an effort, he thought. He was going to Golders Green, but who could say which stop would be hers? At the very next station she might disappear out of the tube and out of his life.
He concentrated on catching her eye. Eventually, having read all the advertisements above Isaac’s head, Inge’s gaze dropped and she was caught in the admiring, slightly anxious, but very determined spotlight of Isaac’s stare.
“Hi!” he said, unimaginatively. Better follow up with something sharper than that, he thought. “Didn’t I see you at that party in Notting Hill last Saturday?”
Inge had arrived in London from Stockholm only two days ago, so she couldn’t have been at a party in Notting Hill last Saturday. She said so, in delightfully (to Isaac) accented English. Isaac was entranced. He bumbled on. Suave wasn’t his strong suit, but testosterone drove him forward.
“Oh, sorry. At first you really looked like a girl I saw there. But now I see that she was nowhere near as pretty as you.” Isaac added his most winning smile. His mother said he looked like an angel when he smiled. Inge, on even this brief acquaintance with The Smile, tended to agree. She giggled a bit.
“Ah, tank you! I tink tat you haf a nice smile,” said Inge.
This promising embryo conversation was interrupted by a posh recorded voice informing the pair that they were arriving at Swiss Cottage.
“I haf to ged off here,” said Inge, standing up and slinging her bag onto her shoulder.
“Me too,” said Isaac, fibbing.
They detrained together and stood for a moment in front of an advertising poster asking them to not leave their free newspapers on the train, but to take them with them, or put them in the receptacle provided. Inge started towards the stairs.
“I haf to go now…”
“You live in Swiss Cottage?” asked Isaac. “Would you like to meet for a coffee at the Starbucks? Later?”
“Ah! Yah!” said Inge. “Imorgon!” Then she disappeared up the stairs, leaving Isaac to wait for the next train to Golders Green, and to wonder just what “imorgon” meant.