Pacing on the far platform, arms bundled for protection against the dawn chill, her every movement, each expression, beguiled me. That day, and the next, the train stole her. On the third, she saw me. On the fourth, she smiled.
Groomed after a forlorn weekend, I catch my enchantress frantically scanning the platform whilst her carriage pulled away. She sighed as she found me, no time to wave.
Today, like yesterday, my heart is content; waving, she tenderly blows a kiss. Her arms protect her bundle, our child, before the train carries them off, returning them home to me tonight.
At school, timetable clashes forced me to choose between art and biology. I told my wife this to justify my ignorance, but she was intolerant, shouting obscenities and slapping me at every opportunity. We had organised a water birth, so a rainy afternoon, gridlocked on the North Circular wasn’t a substitute. Nevertheless, helped by Google and memories of a Casualty episode, I delivered little Cooper, all on my own. Even so, this achievement didn’t tame her incessant nagging. Thankfully, there were two consolations: we were in her Mini, and whilst waiting for the ambulance, I shot some fantastic Leibovitz-style photographs.
My father went to buy a paper when I was six and never returned. Occasionally I wonder how he is, what he’s doing. My memories are of a giant, cradling me during a bedtime story, kissing my forehead, whispering secretively into my ear that I’m his favourite. I can’t picture how he’d look now.
One day, a letter arrived unexpectedly. ‘I’m dying, I want to make amends.’ He’d moved to London but the cancer destroying his body prevented him from travelling. My sisters saw him last week and said goodbye.
Today, I’m on the train. I’m going to Edinburgh.