Short Story

Bench

It was a gloriously bright spring morning. One of those of mornings where everything goes absolutely right? I had plenty of time to get ready? My washed hair did exactly what I wanted it to and my face was blotch free. I put my sun glasses on and walked to the station. How rarely does it happen that everything is in place? My knickers were comfortable, I hadn’t forgotten to put my earrings in and it was so warm I didn’t even need to wear a coat for the first time that year.

I waited on the sunny platform and I felt good, really good. Always make the most of those precious moments when you feel good. I could not locate any niggling thoughts in my head. Everything was in my bag: purse, phone, glasses and bottle of water. The train was on time but crushed with commuters. I didn’t mind. I squashed in to a space by the door reading my Metro, happy to be part of the crowd.

Nearing the end of my journey I glanced down at the floor to see I was standing in a puddle of water. How strange. The penny dropped as I noticed it was dripping from the bottom of my bag. My water bottle had fallen sideways and the lid cannot have been on tightly enough. I felt a pang of embarrassment. All was not perfect after all. Never mind, I can recover from this and get back on track. I retrieved my damp phone from my bag and shoved the Metro under my feet to soak up the puddle. Nobody seemed to have noticed my predicament. Looking inside my bag I saw a bit of a soggy mess that I would have to sort out later.

As I came through the ticket gate you were waiting on the seat where you had met me before. I inwardly smiled to see you and prepared to tell you about my mishap. You would see the funny side of it and make me laugh. The expression on your face did not change at all and you failed to be amused. I wondered if you were feeling irritated by my incompetence. I changed the subject and shot off to the cash machine. You didn’t follow me. You kept your distance, sort of loitering and being busy with your phone. Within the hour you told me we were done, you couldn’t see me anymore.

I make that journey at least once a week. I am hoping they will move that bench. It draws my attention every time. It brings to mind the welcoming you and the withdrawn you. I notice whether it is empty or whether it is occupied by a yet another stranger.