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Brief Encounter


Paul Curtis

Snow spattered, unseen, against the steamy glass

As the train rattled out of the station

It was a fairly crowded train, but not full

With weary shoppers, shopping bags bursting

And commuting workers the weeks work done

Journeying homeward at the dark days end

A cheerful crowd though

Pleased with themselves bright faced and hearty

Full of seasonal cheer anticipating the holiday

Seemingly oblivious to the drafty carriage

I sat alone and felt lifted by the quiet jolliness

Contemplating the collective countenance

Of the self satisfied passengers

Then she appeared and I was lifted higher

There she was larger than life vivacious and self assured

Covered with snowflakes and laughing to herself

My snow angel, with snow covering her like sugar on a doughnut

Wrapped up against the cold in a woolen hat and coat

And the long knitted scarf draped about her neck

She shook her head and her light brown hair danced about her shoulders

And the snowflakes melted away from her soft curls

There was a rosy redness on her cheeks

Almost matching the hue of her coat

Either from the cold winter evening or a liberal taste of Christmas spirit

A little of both probably

She made her way down the train between the seats

Leaving wet snowflakes in her wake

Full length coat swishing side to side

She moved almost gracelessly, which suited her well

As she tottered a little in her high boots

Perhaps due to the lurching motion of the train

Or the Christmas punch and eggnog

She was still laughing softly herself which also suited so well

And then she saw me, and her eyes lit up like beacons

She stopped and stood momentarily open mouthed

Then her smile illuminated the carriage

My heart soared at the sight of her

I returned her smile and she flushed a little deeper red

It had been almost a year since I last saw her

My lovely lost love, Linda

I had locked all my feelings away but now they were back

Like a door had opened in my heart and they all rushed out

And I missed her so much I didn’t know just how much till that moment

We were never lovers, only ever friends

But very special friends very close friends though more

We laughed a lot together, shared confidences

Best friends but no more than that,

Though I wanted more, so much more

But I didn’t want to lose what we had so I said nothing

I loved her so much, but she was not free for me to love

And Linda was not free to love me even if she wanted

So I contented myself with our special friendship

My unrequited love remained so

If that was all then better that than nothing

I was happy to love her unconditionally

Then circumstances changed, my father died

I had to move away and I didn’t see her again, until now

Now she was in front of me, my angel, larger than life

Smiling, blushing, laughing and so lovely

I stood up and smiled at her again

She threw herself at me and she hugged me so tight

I smelled her hair as I held her and was intoxicated by her scent

All the old feelings flooded back over whelming me

Yet could it be my love was not unrequited

We sat down on the lumpy seats in the rattly carriage

And were completely alone

We sat looking at each other not wanting to lose sight of one another

In case the spell were broken

She removed a glove and put her hand on mine

As if testing it was not a dream then she slipped her hand into mine

Her delicate fingers so small in my grasp

For the remainder of the journey we reveled in each other’s company

We caught up with the lost months filled in the gaps

Still oblivious to our companions

It was as if we had never been apart

Then the train shook to a halt as all too soon we had arrived

Our fellow travelers rushed off to their Christmases

Reluctantly we left our seats and disembarked arm in arm

Then hand in hand we walked slowly along the platform

Still talking and laughing and then out onto the street

Where the shops were now closing and the town was relatively quiet

From one pub Noddy Holder screamed “it’s Christmas” to the world

Only the pubs and restaurants seemed to hold any attraction to most

But we joined a small group gathered round the Salvation Army band

And joined in with the carol singing in the town square

Before strolling towards the taxi stand

As the snow again fell onto Linda’s soft curls

We took our place in the queue of travelers eager to be home

I wanted to be nowhere else but with her

Smiling she turned to face me and kissed me gently on the lips

Such a warm sensitive and tender kiss

When our lips parted she smiled at me coyly

And flushed a deep shade of pink

Then I kissed a snowflake off her nose

And cupped her flushed cheek in my palm

Then I slid my fingers beneath her hair

Caressing the soft downy hair on her nape

And pulled her sweet lips to mine and returned her kiss

Her arms enveloped me holding me so close, so tightly

Not wanting to let go, not wanting to lose what we had found

Not wanting to lose me again

We stood locked in our embrace as the snow fell softly on the scene

She pulled away for a moment then buried her face in my neck

And spoke “I’ve missed you so much, I’ve missed your love for me”

I had waited so long for this moment waited so long to here those words

To hear my love returned then we kissed again

Cabs arrived and departed through the slush

The queue around us just kept moving as if unaware of our love

After a while we moved from the queue sat on a bench and talked

My love was not unrequited the felt the same for me

She had always done so yet still she was not free

She was torn between the two of us

Torn between the comfortable familiarity for a good man

A loyal and dependable man, safety

And the passion she felt for a soul mate

It wasn’t fair on him he hadn’t done anything wrong

So our love had to be a forbidden one

Best friends no more, I wanted more, so much more

And could not content myself with a special friendship

Now I knew my love was not unrequited

There was no going back, now Pandora’s Box had been opened

But at least now I knew she loved me

With the same depth as I loved her

We walked back to the taxi rank and kissed again in the snow

All too soon she got into a taxi

And through the winter wonderland departed taking my love with her

With her palm pressed against the glass she craned her neck to keep sight of me

Through the snow spattered window until the very last moment

Till the cab had gone out of sight

She was gone from my arms, gone from my view, gone from my life

But a Christmas happening had changed my life forever

A brief encounter, fleeting, here and then gone

Her scent still in my nostrils, the taste of joy on my lips

My soul mate gone forever, yet forever in my memory, forever in my heart

I would never see her again and moved away in the New Year

Making a life elsewhere but I never forgot her

And when on a winter’s night I hear the “Sally army” play

Or when the snow falls during Christmas time

Or I feel a snowflake on my skin

I feel her small hand in mine and then she is once again in my arms

And I smell her soft brown hair and the taste of her is on my lips

I hear her say “I love you” and she is mine forever

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