They sat next to each other on the train, still pretending to be strangers. Her deep emerald green eyes darted over to his seat every few seconds, while he kept his firmly locked on the window, trying to admire the scenic winter view. Raindrops slid down the window, disappearing like their memories, like their hopes, their plans, their dreams. She adjusted her coat, shivering at the thought of the empty train, countless seats around and yet he chose to sit right opposite her. He must not have noticed, she thought. He had. A feeling of nostalgia exploded inside of her as she thought of the picnic, the one they’d had for their very first date. She’d brought sandwiches, he’d made pie. They threw their heads back in laughter as the spring birds sang for their passion. Everything was so simple back then. The whistle of the speeding train snapped her back into focus. She avoided his eyes, the desperation inside of her almost too much to bear. He stole a glance at her slim figure, a quick thought flashing through his head – she’d lost weight, a lot of it. He hoped it wasn’t because of the breakup. It was. He remembered their weekly baking sessions – she’d run to the oven and whine when she saw the heads of the cupcakes, burnt, as usual. He’d suggest coating them with layers of vanilla icing. They didn’t taste as bad that way. They hadn’t quite meant to finish the whole tub. It had just happened. She swallowed the lump in her throat and struggled to draw back the tears, memories of the fight flooding her mind. The yells echoed in her head, the insults strangling her heart. She couldn’t remember when things started to go wrong. She couldn’t remember when the spark had begun to sizzle, when it blew out for good. She couldn’t remember when the man she’d once loved with all her heart had become nothing more than a stranger.
Saturday, 2 November 2013
I took a sip of my coffee, flinching as the drink burned my tongue. My pen clicked against the blank sheet of notebook paper before me, lines and lines of empty space – no inspiration. Countless thoughts spun around in my mind, but I couldn’t string a single sentence together. I glanced around me at the metal tables and chairs of the cafe, various strangers sat doing their own things, thinking their own thoughts. I watched the woman ahead of me, her red hair flaring in the late morning sunlight. She sipped on her drink, ripping off pieces of the second chocolate croissant the waiter had brought her. My eyes flashed over the man next to me, a fairly young man, days old stubble shielding his face. Headphones hid his ears, music blaring so loud even I could hear it. His foot tapped along to the rhythm. I turned to see the mother sitting behind me, holding her two young daughters on her lap. I watched the way she looked at them, planting kisses on their cheeks, staring into their innocent eyes. I gazed at the waiter carrying the trays with such ease. I wondered what must be on his mind, what he must think day after day while he recited the lunch menu. I watched him dance across the patio, flashing a smile at the new customers walking through the door. I averted my eyes, and focused on the single red leaf as it fell from the nearest tree, wavering in the air for a while before dropping to the floor, almost as if it were ready for a change. And, as I watched the world going on around me, I reached forward and took another sip of my coffee, capturing the flavour for as long as possible, letting the inspiration seep through me. Then, I began to write.