Monday, December 1, 2008

The Way Home

Beyond the glass, snow fell on the silent platform as his train pulled in. As he dozed through the hours, he had charted the journey he never expected to take again - every familiar station, every tunnel, every checkpoint. Now as the brakes hissed, he stretched, easing his aching limbs and he gazed along the lamplit empty carriage as the train shuddered to a halt. This wasn't quite the end of the line, but it may as well have been.

He paused in the doorway of the train, halfway between the warm stale fug of the carriage and the crisp bite of the December night air. He remembered other homecomings when the sunlit platform had been packed with people, when he had leapt from the still moving train, running to her, swinging her round and round in his arms. This time, he stepped alone from the train, everything he possessed in the canvas holdall on his shoulder. As the train pulled away, he slipped his hand into the warmth of his trouser pocket, and traced the outline of the key in the manila envelope. He turned his face to the sky and closed his eyes. Snow fell softly on his cheeks, cool on his parted lips, catching on his eyelashes.
'Hey man, don't I know you?' the station guard ambled over.
He opened his eyes as if waking from a dream. 'Maybe.'
'Yeah, sure I do! Joe, you're Joe aren't you?' he cocked his head, smiling. 'We went to school together. Where you been man?'
Where had he been, he wondered? Nothing had changed, and yet everything had. Would the house be the same as he remembered? What about her? Even if she hadn't moved away he wondered if she ...

1 comment:

Natasha said...

Beautifully written, Kate! This is a great place to start