Commuter Games

She sat on a corner seat at the end of the carriage and opened her fur-lined coat wide, oblivious to the other commuters. Sitting in her cosy corner nest she smiled to herself, ruminating on past memories or pleasures to come. The train rattled on, exchanging passengers at each station.

Suddenly her warm dark voice slices through the carriage; “John!” and then again “John!”, much too sensual for a regular morning commuter greeting. A man in his late 40’s is walking slowly along the aisle towards her, head held high with a scarf chokingly tight around his neck, giving him an aloof expression. As he approaches the woman he pretends to suddenly notice her and exclaims “Hello, fancy meeting you here”. He reaches out to shake her hand, as distant acquaintances do. “Yes, what a surprise” she replies, grabs his arm and pulls him into her corner nest. She links arms and snuggles up to him, face bubbling over with joy. His token resistance is noted by the other commuters, peeping from behind newspapers or glancing up from smart phones. She pulls him closer, like a spider hauling in its prey. Their conversation is muted, whispered almost. New passengers glance furtively at the couple before turning away, looking troubled or perhaps envious.

The train jerks to a halt, ready to offload another batch of commuters. The man disentangles his arm and plants a loud wet kiss on her mouth, jumps up and clears the doors just before they slam. He strides off along the platform without a backward glance, leaving behind only the hissing sound as the doors lock into place. Smiling, she raises her hand to wave but then hesitates, letting it fall back heavily into her lap. The woman snuggles down again into her coat, hugging herself tightly as if he was still there. The other passengers relax, their daily commuter routine back to normal as the train disappears into the dark tunnel.

The man slowly climbs the stairs from the cave-like station, breathing laboured and perspiring slightly as he reaches the open air of the park. He is in a hurry, wiping his mouth carefully with the back of his left hand, lips pale and tense, eyes too clouded to notice the yellows and reds of the trees.

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