Cutting it fine

Mark started to run. He had just realised that it was Sunday and that the train left five minutes before it’s usual time. It would be a disaster if he missed it. His wife would never forgive him for missing her birthday party. Why, suddenly, were there so many people pulling large suitcases, causing him to hesitate every few steps? He glanced up at the station clock and saw that he had only two minutes to reach the train. He was sweating with the physical and mental effort. With horror he saw that there had been a change of platform and it was even further away than was normal. Of course it was all his fault as he had no real need to stop to buy that book; it could have waited until tomorrow. The platform came in sight but where was the ticket he must present at the barrier? Why oh why was everything going wrong. He searched every pocket and found it in the very last one. The barrier opened just as the guard blew his whistle. He increased his pace and pushed into the first carriage just as the doors were closing. He had made it, but the cost was great as he sank exhausted into the only free seat.

Julie

Julie was lonely, very lonely. It had been a traumatic weekend as the night before she had told her boyfriend that she would no longer marry him. He had taken it so badly with a mixture of confusion and anger. He had tried to change her mind but it had only made things worse. Now, here she was at the station, her sleeping bag in its blue nylon duffle resting on her lap. She was very conscious that she looked a bit scruffy, Her hair had the appearance of a scarecrow, and her shirt was distinctly sniffy in places you would rather not go. Her eyes looked tired and bloodshot. What she would not give for a shower and a place to lie down. She wondered what passers-by thought of her dejected figure if, that is, they even noticed, No longer did she enjoy the comfort of Dave’s parents’ fine home, but only a cold and draughty seat in this busy station. Was she imagining it or was everyone else walking in couples. Why did everyone seem so happy, so attached? As many passed by, hand-in-hand, she was reminded that she was now unattached. Or were they also hiding hurt and disappointment? She realised that you could never tell what was really going on in peoples’ lives, just as her friends had not realised the tensions that existed between her and Dave. Such observations must be arising from her emotional sensitivities. Her train back to Cambridge was not for another two hours, and she longed for the time to pass quickly so that she could once more be back in familiar surroundings and sink herself into the distraction of her studies. She began to think about the things that had brought her to this final and irreversibly decision: his inability to talk about things that really mattered, his untidiness, his thoughtlessness when she was in need of comfort, and his lack of interest in the things that mattered to her. In a moment of insight it struck her that it was now time to move on. As they say, tomorrow is another day.