He wouldn’t go.
Neither of us wanted the time to come for the final farewell; but it had come. And gone. I’d envisioned a scene from that David Lean film. You know the one, set in the 40’s, black and white, lots of smoke and trains. I’ve got it now; Brief Encounter, starring Celia Johnson, Trevor Howard and Rachmaninoff. It was the melodramatic cinematography rather than the content of the film that I’d imagined. I was not an emotional Laura with angst, but like Laura, I believed in love.
We’d grown old together; me, him and the café we were sat in. The flaking paint on the window frames and skirting boards mirrored that of my bitten nails; together chipped and in need of TLC. I rubbed my hands as if that would buff up a bit of life into them.
He just stared into his cold coffee and stirred it occasionally with a tea-stained spoon. He didn’t take sugar, but he kept on stirring, as if the imaginary granules refused to dissolve. When I looked at him, shoulders slumped; like that misshapen pillow he refused to throw away; I shared his sorrow.
A group of teenagers come in all regaled in their New Romantic tartan and flouncy blouses, and headed for the counter to order. One of them yanked at another’s earplugs causing it to disconnect from the iPhone. The recognisable 80’s synthpop emanated at too-loud decibels. It was Duel by Propaganda; a song from my youth. I smiled at them thinking been-there-done-that-got-the t-shirt-etc. It’s funny how things come round.
I grabbed his hand. He looked up at me as I stood up to leave.
‘It’s time to go, love,’ I said.
I looked at my watch, and he looked at the station clock. We’d been there an hour. He didn’t want to leave. So, we’d sat in the sad café, not talking, just reminiscing, about how different our lives would be now, without Lucy. She had adventures to create for herself at university, while we contemplated the fact that we only had each other to look after.
He seemed deep in thought and then smiled briefly. He took my hand in his and pulled me along in a hurry.
‘Come on, love. Lucy was right.’
‘Where are we going?’
‘I think it’s the right time.’
‘We’re off to the rescue home. There’s a dog there waiting to be loved.’