I stepped into a surprisingly uncrowded subway car and took a seat near the back. There was a slightly build, young Asian guy (Filipino I think) sitting diagonally across from me to my right. He was facing the front of the train while I sat almost 90 degrees to his left looking towards him. He rested his feet up on the seat in front of him with a large notebook propped on his raised knees. He wasn’t writing as I originally had assumed but sketching. He looked up periodically and then back to his sketchbook. I casually looked to my left and saw his subject. It was another man, in his late 20’s, perhaps Indian, a few seats down. He looked bored and I wondered if he knew his likeness was being slowly captured a few feet away.
Then I saw the man looking back at the artist while he was sketching. When the artist looked up, I slowly glanced at the subject while pretending to read the posters. The subject was looking away. Every time the artist looked down to sketch, the man would glance over at the artist. When the artist was looking at the man, the man was always looking elsewhere. Their eyes never met during this artistic courtship.
After a few stops, the young artist started to pack things up. He stuffed his sketchbook into a large brown leather bag and walked towards the door. A few seconds later, the man also walked towards the door and stood beside the artist. Neither acknowledged each other. I guess it was appropriate that they left the train together.