(Interrupting myself again.)
As if the universe knew I had just written about him and wanted to provide me with a little more material, I ran into F. on the train the other day. It was a bit jarring; he was in the wrong place, and I told him so. He smiled, and said he recognized me immediately because I was intent upon a PDA (he knows I look at a computer screen all day long). Once we both acknowledged that we lived in the real world, the conversation ground to a halt.
"Are you coming from work?" I asked, above screech of wheels.
"No, just going to the store to return this shirt." He held up a bag.
"Oh!" I said. We smiled. I stood there awkwardly, not knowing where to look, trying my hardest to think of topics of conversation.
"When are you reading again?" said F. as we pulled into the station. I laughed; that's what he asks every time I chant. I told him I didn't know, which is how I always answer, and he smiled again. We both stared at our shoes. The doors closed.
"I love hearing R. [the rabbi] read when someone doesn't show up, don't you?" he said suddenly.
"Yes!" I answered, relieved that we finally found a topic."It was amazing to hear him on Shavuot, and my favorite part of Simchat Torah is when he reads the last paragraph."
"I can't think of that holiday without hearing his voice!" said F., eyes bright with enthusiasm. He now looked like he was in the right place, even though we were still on the train. We got to my stop.
"See you tomorrow!"