I saw an older woman on the train last week.  Across the crowded aisle, I glimpsed her as she sat demurely, her eyes partially closed, her gray hair tucked into a bun, a briefcase on her lap.  A powerful woman, a woman of substance I thought, a professor enroute to her first class or an attorney heading into court.  Despite her aura of invincibility, stray wisps of gray hair peeked out from her bun and around her face making her softer, maternal almost.

I watched her and imagined sharing a cup of tea, and by extension – sharing a bit of ourselves. Who was she?  A mother, a wife, a friend?  Were her eyes closed in preparation for the day ahead or to snatch a moment of solitary reflection before the events and people of the day tumbled in around her?

Suddenly, her eyes snapped open and she looked straight at me and…smiled.  No hint of harrumph in her expression – only a warm smile.  She looked me over and pointed to her own clothes.

“We match,” she said.  I looked down.  Indeed we did.  We both wore red and black – power colors for women.  I smiled, and then the train ground to a screeching halt.  The woman, my nameless new friend, jumped up and waved, exclaiming “My stop!”

A bubble of disappointment grew in my stomach.  I wanted her to stay.  She gathered her belongings and headed for the door, and then she turned to me.  “I hope you have a very special day,” she said softly.  I sighed, and thanking her, I wished her the same.

My day did turn out to be special in part because of that small and unexpected connection with a stranger on the train.  And now – I’m going to keep my eyes wide open and smile very chance I get because the next stranger I meet might just turn out to be another friend.