It was only an hour since we’d met. She had missed her train and I missed mine, both of which were taking us to different parts of the country. Now we had to wait for five hours, or six in her case to catch the next connection.
I bent to pick up the small parcel she had dropped and, while she thanked me, we both noticed there was only one table left in the waiting room and, with a smile, we took the unspoken agreement to share it.
Don’t ask me the why or how, or if stars were aligned, fates joined or destiny was speaking through the railway timetable but as we talked, it was if doors opened into our hearts and we shared connections richer than any I thought possible.
Although our schools were single sex and catholic, it turned out that she had been to the girl’s school in the same town as mine, both of which shared some of the same teachers. From there we moved to music, food, a sprinkle of political leanings and anything else our minds drifted towards: there was a synergy only the gods could have thought of and we revelled in their kindness. As the hour hands drifted slowly towards the time when we should part, there was an urgency about our conversation it would be hard to miss. Let me explain.
She was going to Manchester to stay with her sister for an indefinite period owing to some catastrophe in her personal life, and I was going to Southampton from where I was sailing to America, probably never to return, touched as I was by the recent death of my wife and the decision to live with my daughter and her husband who had made their homes over there.
Finally as the time ticked away a sort of panic filled me, and I could see it mirrored in her face. To make light of the moment I picked a coin out of my pocket and said “Look, heads we get married, tails we don’t. What do you say?” and she replied, “What do we have to lose!”