Mystery Lady on the Train
Are you the lady who was travelling from Birmingham to Torquay on Friday28th October? We met at Gloucester and travelled on the 11.30am train to Paignton. You left the train at Torre to visit a friend in Torbay Hospital. Would be so good to hear from you.
Yes actually that is me. And I could hardly forget you, ever. I have never had an encounter where my heart felt so touched. No that doesn’t do it justice, because you touched my soul, and for a week this soul has drifted between heaven and hell. Heaven because I was privileged to spent those hours with you; I’ve never been so happily delayed. Hell because I’d lost you so quickly. I thought I would never again see the way you wrapped your hand around a cup or smiled a thank you. By now you should be at home in Cincinnati getting ready to spend Thanksgiving with your daughters. I’ve read about the extreme weather out there and tried to imagine you shovelling snow from your front porch. But you’re still here in Devon? And you’re hoping to hear from me? Badly enough to put that ad in the newspaper. I left you my paper that morning; you said you would try to finish my crossword. I’d laughed and said we spell things differently here; you’ll need to use a pencil.
Why aren’t you in Cincinnati? Were you searching for me? Strangers on a train. No it’s just too clichéd, impossible, why would you, no why ARE you searching for me. No-one else left the train at Torre, no-one but you leant out of the window until it disappeared.
I’ll call now.
But where will it lead? Surely there’s no point, no future. I can’t leave here and you can’t leave your girls and the US. No, that was it, a brief moment. I could have bedded you in an instant, but have only the sense like a sigh of your hand hovering over my shoulder. I wonder how long I can keep that moment in my mind. For now I feel I will never forget but we all say that don’t we? Until life gets in the way. I’ll still remember at Christmas when I imagine choosing your gift. You told me you’re an Aries so I’ll check your horoscope along with mine. By summer I’ll think of you less often, and accept that you probably just wanted the name of the book I told you about, a quick lunch before you flew home and that I fooled myself into thinking that you reciprocated.
Besides what would people think? Silly woman you can’t get involved with strangers. There are some weirdoes about. You’re so naive. At least it’s not as bad as when you pick up hitch hikers. My friends would all have something to say. We have more to say don’t we? Where’s that number?
Zero . . . seven . . . nine . . . five . . . five . . .
Gilly Goldsworthy, from Exeter, completed a Diploma in Creative Writing with the Open University last year. She intends to write fiction and is slowly writing her first novel but indulges her passion for travel writing at lucidgypsy.wordpress.com