He was dressed all smart, headphones in his ears like everyone else – he didn’t even need to think about his route to work and back anymore because he did it every day. But this time he was staring at the message on his phone – tears silently running down his face because the words he’d never wanted her to say were staring back at him from the screen, with no provocation whatsoever.
He didn’t know what to do – he nearly missed his stop to change to a different line on the underground and he felt like he was being pushed along by the crowd of people rushing to get home to dinner.
Another escalator, another flight of stairs, another train, another tear as he took another longing glance at the text he couldn’t reply to yet.
Part of him didn’t want to leave the underground – if his phone couldn’t reconnect to the outside world he’d never have to reply to that text or make the corresponding phone call or have that argument. He could just ride the train till the end of the line then ride it all the way back.
But he couldn’t – he had to walk his dog and make dinner and go to sleep so he could do all this again tomorrow. Hopefully without repeating the text.
He got off the underground at his stop, slowly meandering amongst the other commuters, staring at his phone.
“Excuse me! Sir! You dropped your ticket!” He heard, someone breathlessly tapping on his shoulder behind him.
He turned to see the short girl in the oversized coat, her poker straight hair falling out of the ponytail that secured it and a faded red lip smiling at him after a day of wear.
But her face dropped and instantly moulded into an expression of concern. “Are you okay?” She asked.
He was frozen, he realised he wasn’t saying anything – he was just loosely holding the ticket she’d handed him in his hand.
“Sorry, I shouldn’t have asked – who’d tell a stranger why they were crying on the underground? Sorry, hope your day gets better.” She fumbled.
“No,” He instantly responded, grabbing her wrist as she tried to walk past him and she stopped without reluctance. “Sorry, just been dumped after four years by text.” He blurted. “Wow, that was pathetic.”
“No, it’s not, you’re allowed to be heartbroken.”
“I don’t know why I told you.”
“I have one of those faces; people trust me with stuff.” She shrugged; she exuded this positive, happy mood with her dishevelled, messy hair and her biker boots and that smile that just didn’t seem to stop nagging at the corner of her lips.
“That doesn’t mean you always want to hear it.” He replied after a few moments silence – his brain wasn’t quite processing a full capacity and he could stop noticing her little smile.
“It’s alright. Do you have a train to catch?” She asked.
“Yeah.” He sighed.
“Why are you still standing here then?” She seemed genuinely intrigued.
“I don’t know.”
“I think you should text her back.” She smiled again, reaching into her pocket and pulling out a card. “Give it a few weeks, maybe a month or two. Don’t rush anything. You’ll be okay.”
Four months later he found out her husband had left her that day.
They didn’t often travel by train.
I started writing this post when I was commuting in and out of London every day, but then I was home handling a family emergency and I couldn’t even think about blogging, but I didn’t want the post to go to waste so I finished it off and uploaded it today!
I was doing another journey home anyway so it was fitting that I wrote the beginning of the story on a train and finished it there true. I’m pretty done with trains, but they’re the only way I can really get home so I haven’t got much of a choice.
Thank you for reading,