Sunday, 9 September 2012

A Grand Love Theme

(A Grand Love Theme - Kid Loco)

He walked up the stairs from the platform, and along the concourse towards the main entrance. When he got there he stood with the other people looking up at the board. He'd just missed his connection, and the next train was in half an hour. He wasn't in any rush, so it was no big deal. He'd go for a coffee. Platform 6a, platform 6a, platform 6a, he said to himself, although he knew that by the time he'd finished his coffee he'd have forgotten and he'd have to wander back over to the board, find his train in the shifting flicker of signs of departures everywhere else.

He loved travelling by train, even if it was for work. For two or three hours, there was no call on him, he was anonymous and unknown, drifting free in a half-world that was neither where he'd been or where he was going. It often occurred to him that he could get off somewhere he wasn't meant to be, take a connecting train he wasn't meant to take, end up somewhere he'd never been. He never did, but just the thought was enough.

He turned to walk towards Costa, a latte and a croissant, twenty minutes watching the world coming and going, and she was stood off to his right, oblivious, staring up at the board and biting her bottom lip in concentration, the way she always did. She wore a suit that looked good on her, had a suitcase on wheels at her feet, and her hand wrapped round a cup of coffee, wrapped around far enough that he could see the wedding ring.

He knew she'd been married, had seen the pictures of the kids on her Facebook album until she changed the settings to friends only. She and he weren't friends because they had been many things but never that, and never would be that, and besides there was new partners and their feelings to think of, and it was easier to try and quarantine the past and shut away temptation. They had split many years before, but whenever they ran into each other that never seemed to stop them, and they would end up in a spiral of stolen nights and recriminations and vows of never again, never again.

He lost two new relationships as a result of it, and she lost her first engagement and all their friends thought that they would get back together in the end, but without knowing how, the two of them knew that it would never work. Then she moved city, and they stopped running into each other, and years passed, and along came marriages and children and songs skipped when they came up on shuffle because they brought back too much.

He watched for a moment. She was older, like him. A few lines and a few pounds but then who hadn't. He knew how it would go, because it had always gone the same. Either they would make time now and miss trains and meetings, or arrangements would be made and numbers would be swapped, and in a week or two they would be in some shitty Premier Inn, closing out the world and falling back into each other as if not a day had passed. There was no doubt. It was like the sun rising, or the rain coming.

He smiled to himself, and he hoped she was happy, and he turned and walked off to platform 6a.

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