BY EDWARD DRAKE
If forced to leave the one you love, but given just a few days together, what would you do?
I wait for her at the train station. My stomach is knotted and my heart beats fast with nerves, butterflies you can call it. I have counted down the days and then the hours and now only minutes remain. People roam about me and I see all the human emotions in that one place. Joy and sadness, happiness and loss, elation and grief, being together and being alone, tense and at ease, united and separated. Soon I know that I will experience all of these in the space of the next few days.
Her train pulls in and despite my poor eyesight I peer into the growing mass as they stream out onto the platform and all head for the turnstiles. I spot her almost immediately. Wearing a bright green coat and carrying a bag big enough and full enough to contain clothes for a fortnight, let alone her weekends stay. Although I recognise them, it is not those things that I see first and that tell me it is her. It is the wide smiling she is trying and failing to conceal, almost embarrassed at the overwhelming happiness she feels. I know I am doing the same, but as our eyes meet we do not hide it anymore and smile for all the world to see.
She passes the turnstiles and despite the layers and bags she hurries over to me and we throw our arms around each other tightly. Her lips meet mine and for those few seconds our surroundings, the hundreds of people passing us, all is forgotten. It has been weeks since we have seen each other and we savour every moment of that initial reunion.
We head over to my place where I have cooked a meal for her, ready for as soon as we get in. It is already late and I know she must be hungry after the travelling. We talk and laugh, just happy to be in each other’s company again. The night simply flies by.
I awake early the next morning and see her beside me, still sound asleep. I try not to disturb her and simply watch as she dozes. Her hand is closed in my mine, fingers entwined, holding each other through the night, not wanting to let go. I realise that that is the best I have slept for weeks, simply feeling calmer and more relaxed when she is there. I kiss her gently on the forehead and she turns instinctively, rolling into my arms. I hold her tightly before I join her again in slumber.
That day, after a long lie-in, we head out. Together we see the sights of the city, go shopping, see a film or show and eat out until eventually returning home. We are happy, laughing about how we embarrassed ourselves or something else funny from our day. A neighbour calls to us to quieten but we ignore them, too lost to be reached by others. We return late, tired but in a good way, knowing we have done much, all of it together.
The next day we awake to a different mood. We know this is our last day together for a while, the weekend nearly over, and that she will be back on that train soon and gone again. We do not talk about it and this day we stay at home. We talk, joke, listen to music as we lay beside each other, watch television or films cuddled under a duvet on the sofa. It does not matter what we do, not really, as we are simply making the most out of being together for those few remaining hours.
The time we dreaded quickly approaches though and with an eerie quiet between us we head back to the station. We walk slowly, a far cry from our pace two days ago. Our hands hold tightly again, not willing to let go. Her train approaches though and we hug tightly again whilst saying how much we mean to each other and how much we care for each other. The call comes for all passengers and she walks away, blinking back the tears. She looks back repeatedly as she walks and I do not take my eyes off her for a moment until she steps into the carriage. Our weekend, a whirlwind of time and emotions, was over.
I walk back, slower than ever, and as I enter my home I realise, not for the first time, that it is so quiet, so empty without her. Instantly I look to the calendar, seeking out when we will next see each other. Already I await that first kiss, that greatest moment when we meet and have the entire weekend before us, there at that train station.
I smile, but it is not a happy one as I wish I had never left her. I wish I had never moved away.
Copyright. Edward Drake. 2011