Karen Eileen Sikola
Always take the train. Because you never know when you’ll feel inclined to take the Red Line out to Davis Square instead of heading home for the night, or if you’ll be invited to the house of a coworker’s friend, who might request a six pack, or if when you look at the selection you’ll decide you feel like trying the new Abita Satsuma Harvest Wit, or if that just happens to be a favorite of the man who rings you up, or if he’ll say “nice choice” before making sure your California license is a real one and not a fake like the one he saw last week, or if when you joke that you are actually as old as your license reveals he will say “hey, watch who you’re talking to,” or if he will smile, or if you will ask about the “beer cookies” on the counter and he will recommend them, or if you will agree that they’re probably delicious because after all, beer makes better pancakes, or if when you make this statement, the two of you will say in unison, “makes ‘em fluffy!” or if this moment will make him smile again, or say, “my kind of woman,” or if even after you chicken out and say “have a good night,” your coworker-now-friend will write your name and phone number on a bookmark and hand deliver it to him, or if he will actually use it a few hours later, and introduce himself properly, and ask if you’d like to meet up on Monday or Tuesday because those are the days he can actually fit in coffee and conversation between grad school, a 9-5, and his late night shifts at the liquor store. Always take the train because you never know if while you are waiting on a bench, in the cold, for the last Allston-bound 66, he is waiting at Park Street for the same Green Line train you would have taken had you not decided to give buses another try, or if you could have been having this initial nervous interaction while seated on facing seats in a train car instead of over phone lines that cut out the further he goes underground.
Karen Eileen Sikola received her M.F.A. in Creative Nonfiction from California State University, Fresno. Her nonfiction has appeared in Front Porch, Di Mezzo Il Mare, 100-Word Reviews, and on fwriction as Story of the Day. Though she cannot ride a bicycle, she does enjoy monkeys. She lives in Boston with her dog, Rilo.