The Fast-Track to Romance
It was the winter of 1997 and I just started my first job out of college at a Center City advertising firm. Living in Northeast Philadelphia, I would board the R7 at Torresdale station each morning with a novel in hand and an eagerness to earn a paycheck. But I was quickly distracted from my book by the girl that always sat a few rows in front of me in the same car. For weeks on end I would steal a glance on those cold mornings hoping to make eye contact, but too bashful to engage in a conversation. Ironically enough, I was thrilled to discover that this staggering beauty and fellow commuter worked in the same building that I did but on a different floor. Destiny was pushed to another level when Jackie actually entered my office one day to interview with my company. She got the job and I had a train partner and new friend.
The seasons turned to summer and our friendship soon began to blossom into something more. That is when we found ourselves plunged into the transit nightmare of the SEPTA strike of 1998. Who would have thought that the sweltering heat in the underground tunnels of Suburban Station would turn out to be a breeding ground for love? Happy Hours in the city led to movie dates and a full fledge courtship. We kept our romance quiet in the office but would ride the R7 home each day holding hands and stealing an occasional peck on the cheek. For five days a week, I was able two spend close to two hours each day sitting only inches away from my girlfriend and discovering that this was the person that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with.
Jackie and I married in 2002 and are now parents to twin boys, Joseph and Daniel, who turned five years old in January. During the holidays that just past, I took the boys down to Torresdale Station and we hopped on the R7 to meet mommy who still works in Center City. It was a nostalgic trip for me, reliving the hope and promise of those early “train dates” knowing that sitting next to me and staring out of the window were the two greatest results of a love that traces its roots back to the SEPTA Regional Rail Lines.
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