The rain fell incessantly and steadily; heavy yet quiet as if heard from beside an open window on the first floor. Her coat was not quite watertight, and its hood did not quite cover as much as it should have. She sought cover under a narrow canopy on the front of a gallery across the road from the station, allowing distance to disguise her as she waited. Every few minutes a train would rumble in and her attention would be drawn to the large wooden doors that stood open in front of her, waiting for the milling of commuters and looking for a face she half-knew from a photo that wasn’t well enough hidden.

His car was idle on the curb to the left of the entrance, and in it he sat with an open book in his hand but spending more time reading the watch on his wrist. She observed him. Each time a train arrived he would lower the book and push his absent glasses to the bridge of his nose; a habit he developed in times of anxiety. At one point he looked up to the ornament that hung from the rear-view mirror – a puppy with a pink collar holding a red heart – for a few moments before reaching out to remove it and stow it in the glove box, along with a pair of ladies’ sunglasses. He looked out of the window as he did as if he were concealing a weapon.

She looked to the clock face above the entrance doors. It was almost three in the afternoon, and the growing rumble suggested the train was running on time. She watched as he this time snapped shut his book, adjusted his invisible spectacles, tightened the dark jacket around his torso and opened the door of his vehicle. He pressed the key to lock the car and strode towards the entrance as the patrons of the train began to disembark.

He entered the building and went through to the platform to stand amongst the masses as they filtered out of the station and fumbled with umbrellas. She looked on emotionless. As the platform emptied he turned, straightened his posture a little and took two steps before coming to a stop a foot or two away from a female passenger. Her face was unmistakable even from the gallery by which she stood. After a moment of silence the female passenger was taken in his arms in an embrace. 

She continued to observe. Their hold lasted almost a full minute, broken only by the robotic voice of the announcer loudly warning that bags should not be left unattended. When they parted his grip rested on the female’s forearms for a moment before reaching a hard up to gently wipe a tear from her cheek with his thumb.

Across the road her emotion was restored. She had expected sadness or anger or envy or self-pity, but instead she felt relief. She didn’t stay to watch them leave.


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