Not Here, Not Now
The train slipped quietly through the dusk, a long golden snake in the failing light. Sinead couldn’t sleep. She never was able to sleep while travelling. She stared out the window to pass the time and watched the world slide steadily by, bringing her ever closer to the station. Home. The sky was a brilliant deep blue, odd houses dotted the sky-line like mirages. If she changed her focus she could see her own reflection staring mutely back at her. Dark circles under her eyes showed the strain from the past few weeks.
A flash of light brought her focus back to the outside world as a stream leaped across the window. She turned her attention to her friend Dan, asleep on the seat opposite. “Lucky” She thought to herself, “He’s worn out. Not too sure why though. I was the one on the couch last night.”
They had had an interesting day. Quite an adventure really, which had left Sinead tired and sore. As she watched Dan breath slowly in and out, all curled up over the arm rest, trying to fit into a space hardly big enough for a child, her face softened and all her feelings came rushing back. She wanted to reach out and stroke his hair or hold his hand.
Just as she was about to reach over his phone rang. He woke with a jump and hit his head off the arm rest. He seemed dazed and confused. He read the text. It was from Mathew. He mumbled something about “Lads night” and when it was clear that she wasn’t getting anything more out of him she turned back to the window and he took out a sailing magazine.
Minutes passed without a word. Sinead felt awkward. Dan looked angry and she could tell he wasn’t really reading the magazine, his eyes were fixed on one spot. She wanted to know what was wrong, but he wouldn’t talk in front of people just in case they were listening. She reached for a sweet as the old conductor wandered past muttering to himself about feet and bags.
Sinead returned her gaze to the window. Outside was invisible now, until she pressed her forehead against the glass and shielded her eyes with her hands. She could see the moon, glowing eerily from behind the scudding clouds. It flickered and changed shape as the trees passed in front if it. “Truly a night such as this is one for fairies and unnatural beings.”
“What?” She started out of her trance as Dan repeated the question, “What did you just say?”
“Oh. Nothing. It doesn’t matter.” She brushed it away with a shrug.
She sat there thinking for a while, wondering if she could ever tell him about her feelings. Not here anyway. The old couple, the only other people in their carriage got up and wandered away towards the tea room. Now was her chance. She swapped seats with Dan’s bag and sat beside him. “Well??…What’s wrong?” She demanded when he didn’t start the conversation. “Come on, we have been friends forever. I know when something is bothering you. Spill.”
“If I tell you then that makes it true. It cant be true.” he lapsed into silence again. Sinead was confused but she waited patiently for him to continue.
“My parents are getting a…divorce.” He looked away and she could tell that he was crying. He went on to tell her how it was all because of him and his dumb rollerblades. If he hadn’t left them on the top of the stairs then Sam wouldn’t have fallen and wouldn’t have cracked his head and died. It was all his fault. “They both keep yelling, “He’s your son! You deal with him!” But they are both my parents.” Sinead didn’t know what to say so she just held him close. After a while he calmed down and pulled away. “It’ll be fine. They’ll make up.” she tried to reassure him.
He looked at her, all tear streaked and took her gently into his arms and kissed her on the forehead. She closed her eyes as the train continued on in the night, cherishing the feeling of his lips against her skin thinking “Maybe I’ll tell him later.”