Waiting for a Train

One train after another, she missed five and counting.

The suppleness of her lips dried away with every breath of icy air. Her hands were tightly tucked in the pockets of her red coat and her weight shifted from her heels to her toes to endure the discomfort of standing for almost an hour. 

The banging sound of the train station's entry doors made her heart skip a beat to one-twenty, not knowing when it'll shoot back to a seventy. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath. "Just one more train, " she whispered. 

She could hear the whistling of the train steam from a distance and she knew that she won't be riding the seventh. Not this time. Not anymore. She stood still with eyes glued on the edge of the platform parallel to her until she could see the train doors open. People started bustling from and to the train while she dragged herself towards the edge of the train door. Turning around, she finds herself standing next to the man in a gray suite who just scurried inside just before the door closes. His black Atashi case and fougères scent was familiar to her but she doubted the last minute coincidence.

"You're late too?", he said. His husky voice broke her uncertainty and she could not escape this moment. The best excuse she could give was bathing 8 year old Charlie for an hour.  

"Oh that little puffball is giving you a hard time now, " he teasingly said, with a distinguishable tone she knew - "must be the signs of aging!" She chuckled awkwardly because all she could say was "Yeah," confused about where his reaction came from. 

He talked about the weather and how Charlie becomes so active outdoors. Her eyes were barely glancing back but she listened carefully to every word he said even if she only responded with half smiles. She was hoping for a miracle everyday and she kept praying that it would happen today. When she had the courage to steadily look into his eyes, she felt the rush of pain from her heart clumping her throat and saying his name came out in a soft, brittle voice. The beam on his face melted away upon fixing his eyes on the floor. "You remind me of someone who wore the same red coat and pair of white boots; whose hair has locks of golden brown like you. I remember holding her in my arms, tilting her head up so I could gaze at her hazel eyes, her beautiful face. But before the vision of her face becomes clear, I wake up. . . " 

The train was nearing her stop and this moment was something she did not want to slip away again. Before even putting her thoughts into words, the train doors opened and it was time to leave. 

"See you whenever, stranger." she said, with a fading smile as she looked away from him. She walked past the train station with a heavy heart and eyes instantly filled with tears. Her sob was all she could hear and a man, calling out her name, battling his way through the crowd. 


To her, it was just an echo of what she wanted to hear. 


To her, it was only a stronger echo of her breaking heart. 

"Claire. . .  "

She froze in shock and could barely move another step as he grabbed her close to him for an embrace that knit their hearts together, taking her cold hand and pressing it gently on his left cheek moving to his lips, warming it with his breath. His eyes were clouded with tears too, and before he could even say a word, the gentle brush of the pad of her thumbs on his eyes cleared his vision. Their foreheads kissed and shared each other's breath with a smile that once lost, and her tears of regret broke into relief and joy knowing that she will never be waiting for a train alone again.