I was having a look at an old blog where I used to post my ramblings and writing and there are a few short stories that I might try and polish up and post here… The first was written for a prompt – the prompt word was “stranger”
Looking up at the departure board I sighed, closing my eyes for a second in the vague hope the glowing orange words would change when I looked again, but of course when I peeked out from beneath my lashes the news was still the same. “Delayed”.
It was late, I was cold and I had just had the day from hell. I wanted nothing more than to get back home, maybe have a nice hot bath, but definitely get into the comfort, familiarity and security of my bed, so of course my train was going to be delayed. Stands to reason doesn’t it, on the one day you really need things to run smoothly it’s sods law everything possible will go wrong.
“Sometimes I really hate this country,” I muttered to myself as I slumped into the hard plastic chair to wait for the train that would, I silently prayed, turn up eventually. “A few flakes of snow and everything grinds to a halt… the rest of the world must piss itself laughing at us!”
Wrapping my arms around myself in some vain attempt to hold in the heat the draughty station platform had leeched from my very bones I shivered and tried to find some comfort in the worlds most uncomfortable of seats. How was it possible to design a moulded plastic chair that was almost the entirely wrong shape to fit a human body? There are some days you know the world really does hate you.
From the moment I had got out of bed that morning my instincts had told me to get right back in there and skip the day, there was no way it was ever going to be a good one after all. But I had somewhere to be and something to do, something I had already been putting off for days, weeks really, something that couldn’t carry on and I had decided today would be the day. A decision that had been a lot easier to reach a few days earlier when it was still something in the distance, not so easy once I was leaving the house for a journey I’d made countless times before but never planned to make again.
When he’d first got the promotion and moved we had said it wouldn’t change things, we had said we would make it work and the distance wouldn’t break us. I think we meant it at the time, I’m sure I did, but time and distance proved too great in the end and while I waited for that old adage to kick in, you know the one about distance making the heart grow fonder, I started to realise I wasn’t missing him, I wasn’t waiting for his call and I wasn’t wishing he was back with me. That’s when I knew I had to end it; it wasn’t fair on either of us to carry on. There was no point lying to him and pretending I felt things I no longer did, if I ever had. Being apart made me unsure of even that, how could I have loved someone if it had been so easy for those feelings to fade?
So, as the first flurry of snow began to fall, I made the three-hour journey that would end a four-year relationship, only to discover my unannounced visit was somewhat ill timed as the man I had travelled all the way to dump had already found my replacement.
I won’t say I wasn’t hurt, I would have hoped he would have treated me better than that, had more respect for the years we had been together, but after the anger and the tears I had to admit the overwhelming feeling was one of relief. At last we could both move on with our lives, lives that no longer included each other.
And moving on was exactly what I planned to do, if the train ever turned up.
Sighing loudly I glanced up towards the departure board again but my attention was pulled to one side when I was gripped by the feeling someone was staring at me.
My breath caught for a moment, it wasn’t that the man a few feet along the platform was stunningly handsome, but there was something about him that made my pulse race abit faster. His eyes were the colour of molten chocolate, dark and intriguing, holding the promise of something forbidden in their liquid depths. And he was staring at me. Me! What was that about?
My hand rose self consciously to my hair, I knew it would be damp from the snow and I inwardly winced as my palm brushed against lank locks that must have surely looked as bad as they felt, no wonder he was staring, I must have looked a mess. The earlier meeting with the man who was now my ex had been emotional to say the least, and the flow of tears had smudged or washed away most of my makeup, the remains being touched up as best I could in the station toilets half and hour earlier as I squinted into my cracked compact. Yes it was safe to say I wasn’t looking my best.
The man smiled, only a small half smile, but its full force was pointed my way and I shivered, this time not from the cold. The smile made a bright glint of light seem to dance in the darkness of his eyes and I couldn’t stop my gaze from flickering back to the obvious softness of his mouth, my mind already imagining the feel of it against my skin.
Cursing myself I dragged my gaze away from him, suddenly finding intense interest in the damp ground beneath my feet as my face flushed with embarrassment.
It was crazy; I was feeling like a silly schoolgirl over a single smile from a stranger, I was in serious need of help!
He was nothing special, I told myself over and over, sure he was good-looking, the dark overcoat wrapped around him appeared to embrace a tall and gently muscular physique and his dark, possibly black, hair was casually styled with just a hint of some product or other, but he was a far cry from an Adonis. So why exactly was my heart racing simply because I could still feel his eyes on me?
I was aware of him approaching even before I heard his footsteps, something told me he was moving, getting closer, and my interest in the mottled cracked concrete of the platform floor grew in its intensity. How could I look up? I felt too embarrassed, too shy, too confused and too many things I couldn’t put a name to.
“Could they make these chairs anymore uncomfortable?” He asked me with a laugh. The sound trickled over me like molasses, rich and sweet and thoroughly seductive. And I won’t lie because right at that moment I was more than willing to be seduced.
“Yeah,” I said in what was possibly the weakest most stumbling voice I had ever used in my life, making my cheeks flush an even deeper shade of crimson, but at least I wasn’t quite so cold anymore.
“You don’t remember me do you?” The gorgeously sensuous man asked, a man who I could not possibly have met before, men like that you don’t easily forget.
“Remember you?” Gathering up my courage I lifted my eyes to his, the force of his stare enough to knock me off my feet, thank god I was already seated. He must have mistaken me for someone else because I know I will never forget those eyes for the rest of my life, and possibly beyond. “I don’t think we…”
“We went to the same school…”
“Are you sure?”
“I’m not surprised you don’t recognise me Alison, I’ve changed a lot since then… but you haven’t!”
I smiled quizzically as I tried to place the man who was still taking my breath away. He knew my name, that couldn’t be a lucky guess, but why did I not know him? I haven’t changed… was that a compliment? Normally I would have thought so but there was something in his tone that seemed a little cold, bitter even.
Before I could comment further the rumble of an approaching train vibrated through the station, and he got to his feet with a confident smile.
“This one’s mine… Goodbye, Alison Moore.”
“Wait,” I said weakly, the sound lost beneath the noise and bustle of the platform as I watched the mysterious man walking away. He didn’t once look back and within minutes the train pulled away, and he was gone.
When I finally got back home I spent hours pouring through old school photographs, but I never saw him in any of them.
I never did find out who he was, that stranger who wasn’t a stranger.