Platform Three

“Just be calm.” She whispered the words to herself on a loop as she walked along the platform towards the man she’d known and loved her whole adult life, yet didn’t truly know at all. “Hi. Is everything ok?” She asked. She knew it wasn’t, but she asked anyway. She knew it was over, yet she asked again. “Is everything ok, Mark?” Staring into his anguished face, she dropped the innocent act and came clean. “I know it’s over. I know it’s for the best.” Mark stood motionless only changing his expression from one of anguish, to one of confusion. “I said, I know it’s over,” she asserted. “Don’t you have anything to say?” Still, Mark stood there, perplexed now, as though mentally flipping through a filo-fax seeking out the precise words to say at this very moment in this exact situation. After some time, he shifted his body ever so slightly away from hers and uttered gently, “Is that why you wanted to meet me on a station platform?” Joining him in the look of perplexity, she too now was stumped. Words left her. Thoughts filled her. “What?” “Is that why you wanted to meet me on a station platform?” He repeated it! As though it was utter sense he was talking, he repeated it. “I don’t understand, I…” Bewilderment. They might as well have been standing in a mystical floating forest on a galaxy far, far away for all the sense either one of them could make out of this situation and their surroundings. He scratched his head, she rubbed her eyes. Infantile, the pair of them. Figuring out life, as if from birth. Hearing, seeing, feeling, smelling, touching, walking – all mystical discoveries reborn from the nonsense of a few words. “What do you mean, Mark?” Again, he scratched his head, this time turning away from her as he did so. Turning back, he laughed a small exhale of a laugh. “Mark!” Snapped back into confusion, he looked around for a place to sit, not finding one, he resigned himself to folding his arms and standing firm his ground.

“I don’t understand you, Lucy.” As she does not him. Two strangers opposing each other. “I don’t suppose you ever did.” With her words, she attempted a smile. Attempted and failed. “Why are we here, Lucy?” “I don’t understand you, Mark.” His mind exhausted, searching for reason, though it lived in a place he could not find. Somewhere behind the eyes of the woman before him. The woman he once knew and loved with every fibre of his physical being and every morsel of his infinite soul. How had he lost her so definitely? What was he supposed to do now? He himself was lost without her, but tired of the endless search. He supposed he was searching for something that no longer existed, so he too knew it was over. He too knew it was for the best. “Why did you want to meet me here?” “Stop it, Mark, please!”

He was fixating. Why didn’t he remember? She wondered what monster he thought now lived inside of her. What demon would orchestrate an elaborate plan towards the demise of the man she’d loved half a lifetime? Calculated and cold, is that what she was now? She who trembled inside at the prospect of her future without him. Quivering in fear and sorrow, with excitement and hope, but still love firmly holding all of it together. She looked around for a place to sit, there was none, so she resigned to putting her hands in her pockets. “Is there anything you want to say, Mark?”

A train powered into the platform with a mighty gust of air, blanketing them both with warmth momentarily. The anguish on his face saddened her deep within. Why did he feel this way? If only he could see. Nervous and paranoid, he fixed his gaze upon hers, keeping their bodies at an arm’s length. He wanted to apologise for how things had turned out. He wanted her to know that he loved her, but not wanting her absolve her from blame, he remained silent. Passengers filed in and out of the train like well-rehearsed dancers performing their nightly routine. As the show came to a close, the train rushed away with a gust, this time cold, drawing the two bodies closer together on the now empty platform. Both looked around and realised there were places left to sit. So they sat. Next to each other. Eyes ahead, looking to the row of houses beyond the platform.

“I’m sorry I bought you here, Mark.” “It’s ok. I’m sorry it turned out like this, Lucy.” No more words were spoken between Mark and Lucy. He sat for a while remembering the very first time they met. It was on the way home from school. He and a group of close friends were heading to the firework display. Having waited restlessly for over an hour at the bus stop, they plucked up the courage to jump the station barriers and take the train. She was stood all alone on platform three. The face he felt instantly that he could look upon for the rest of his life. The face he wouldn’t see again for another month or more until the Christmas fair. The face that knocked him clean off his feet as he sped around the wonderland ice rink. The face he would love for half of his life.

She sat for a while longer thinking about those rowdy boys on platform three she had met when she was young. Boisterous and flashy, making a show of themselves to all who looked – apart from one. One sweet face that smiled at her, making her feel safer than she’d ever felt while alone. One sweet face that she did everything she could to see again. One sweet face that looked back at her with the same knowing eyes that Christmas. One sweet face that she loved for half of her life.

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