The silence between them was awkward. They had met exactly once before, after a particularly devastating plumbing malfunction. She had been an underemployed social media manager at the time, he an utterly quotidian plumber. On a lark, she had said “I have another hole that needs fixing” after he had repaired the malfunction, and then she had gently ushered the confused man into her tiny bedroom. What followed was nothing special, but it had happened.
Now, they sat across each other in an almost empty subway car. It was abundantly clear that they both recognized one another, but neither had anything immediate to say. It was years and years ago, that one time, as unplanned as this chance encounter. In silence, they both thought about the strange ways in which people are brought together and then kept apart, and the comparatively small amount of effort required to push fates this way or that. The small things that go to make up a life.
They rode in silence for ten minutes, until arriving at her stop. As she rose to leave, she thought about saying something, but didn’t.