Across The Platforms
You sit there, watching, pretending that you’re not. She knows you can see her and smiles as she bends over her book. You feel your muscles tense as the strongest love you’ve ever known grips you. You look at her and wonder what she’s reading. A thriller? A romance? Maybe a comedy? Not that it matters. You’ll never find out.
They’ve told you she’s too good for you. They’ve told her too. You believe what they say. Still. Part of you hopes that one day, you’ll be the one with her. Not just having to gather snatched moments across the platforms. You look at her again. She looks at you and smiles. You sigh as you take in her cornflower blue eyes, and watch her long hair waving in the wind. You look down. You steal another glance at her, and watch as she sways her head from side to side as she reads. She’s always done this. It’s one of the things that first caught your attention. Other than her head, you wouldn’t know that she was living. She could be a statue. Almost. But there’s this liveliness to her, even when she’s that still which betrays her. Shows her passions better than any words could. You smile as you watch her.
You know that soon her train will come, and she’ll get on it, leaving only a cloud of dust, and the fading roar of the train that takes her to college in her wake. And when she leaves, bitterness engulfs you. You hate this world that won’t let you be with her. Even here, in NYC, you still can’t be together. You’re only young. So’s she. You can’t see the harm in your being together. You’re not hurting anyone. You watch her. And your soul aches for her, your body craving the touch of her soft skin, and the brush of her perfect lips on yours.
She knows you like her. You know she likes you too, but she’s scared of them. The state she got into last time they found her with someone like you, it’s hardly surprising. She didn’t come to the station for over a week. When she did, you saw faded bruises on her face and arms, and you saw her walk, not with her usual floaty ease, but with a jagged limp. You saw people staring at her, heard their whisperings, no one really knew what had happened of course. Only you. And that’s why you’ll never get her.
As you watch her, it’s like there’s only the two of you in the station. Yet, at the same time, you’re both always on the lookout for them. You’re also aware of the metal thief that takes her away from you. You hate that train as it carries her off and leaves you behind. No one else knows about you and her. They have their suspicions, sure, but they don’t really know. You don’t enlighten them. It’s not for them to know. It’s private – your domestic life. No one would approve if they found out. They’d tell them. That’s why you won’t say anything.
You’re too nice. You won’t risk her being hurt. So you sit there. Watching. Pretending not to see. And she gets onto the train. And she leaves, just like she did yesterday, and the day before, and the day before that, and just like she will tomorrow. She’ll come and sit on the same bench on the platform, and silently read as she waits for the train. And when she leaves, you’ll get up and leave and wait for tomorrow. Unless maybe….
You sit there and watch, pretending that you’re not watching. She knows you can see her. She smiles at you. You look down. You can’t believe she’s being so open. You’re hardly breathing. You look around nervously, watching for any of them; for any need to go to her. To protect her. From them. They can hit you. You don’t care about that. Just as long as they don’t hurt her, because that would hurt you more. You can’t see anything, so you look down again. Leaf through your paper like it’s the most interesting thing you’ve ever seen.
Of course you’re not actually reading any of it. You’re thinking of her. Imagining her silky soft skin touching yours. Kissing her after a night out. Openly being in a relationship, not having to skulk in corners. Not having to pretend that you don’t even know the one person who is your soul mate. You imagine a time when you can walk her along the beach on a summer evening.
Suddenly, you feel really angry. They had no right to do this to you. They didn’t care about her happiness. When she got on the train yesterday, you saw her look back at you, and feel the same wrench as she left you, desolate, in a cloud of dust. You saw the sadness in her. They did that. They didn’t love her. They could never love her like you do.
In a flurry of windblown newspaper, you get up and waltz over to her. She looks up at you part scared, part happy. “I’ve been wishing you’d come over” she says, and you can tell by her voice that she means it.
You suddenly become overwhelmed by love. You pick her up in your arms and spin her around. In that instant, nothing matters. They aren’t there. You’re with her. Together. As two lovers ought to be. She’s laughing out loud. She has such a pretty laugh. You’ve always thought that, but now, when you’re close to her, it’s just so much prettier. At that moment, the world is right.
But nothing ever lasts does it? The train suddenly blows in, bringing with it, a jolt to reality. The shutters fall over her. She stops laughing, and tenses. You put her down. She gathers her things and you watch her murmur “I’m sorry” and run to the train.
You blink a tear back, as you wander back to your seat on the platform, carried by the cloud of dust from the disappearing train. You look around and see her, looking back at you through the dirty, rattling window. You look at her, and see that she is crying too. Before you can blink, the train has speeded out of the station, and there’s not a trace of her left. You leave the station and wait for tomorrow.