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The Right For Love - Short Commuting Story

Updated on November 7, 2011

‘Stay away from the platform edge, through train approaching’ familiar voice greeted her when she entered the station.

‘We are sorry to announce that the 7:26 Southwest train to London Waterloo is delayed by approximately 5 minutes. We apologize for any inconvenience it may cause to your journey’. That was also typical although she had to admit that the trains were more reliable than a year ago.

She was waiting on the platform for the train to take her to work in London. She was quite lucky as she needed to take one more train only to get to Canary Wharf where her office was located. The commuting was taking a lot of time but it was necessary if she wanted to live in the green countryside instead of crowded and noisy London itself.

Five Fingers Shoes
Five Fingers Shoes | Source

Maggie was missing Rob quite badly today. He has got an awful flu and he had to stay home. It meant she wouldn’t be able to sit in his warm arms and listen to his loving words. ‘The train now approaching platform 4 is the delayed 7:26 Southwest train to London Waterloo, calling at London Waterloo only’ the voice said so Maggie moved behind the yellow line watching train rolling onto the platform. She waited for people to get off the train, and then she chose their favourite seats. She sat down and look to the side upset even more now as she knew he won’t be sitting next to her. She will not feel his light strokes on her hair.

The train journey every morning was the only intimate quality time they could share together. Later at the office they would avoid public signs of affection, as she was worried what people would say. She wasn’t in her twenties so there would be no end to gossiping. She also had two children so God knows what would they say if someone told them about her and Rob. She could imagine shock and disappointment on their faces. She was supposed to be in a grief after her husband. Mark died more than ten years ago when they were still very young but it was their father so they wouldn’t accept anyone else taking his place.

She was killing the time observing people on the platform. She remembered most of them as she was seeing them every day. They were gathering at the same spot knowing exactly where the doors of the train will open. She could see a tall man with long hair - he looked like the rock man from seventies and was always listening to the music on his earphones. On her left were waiting two older women, in their sixties but from conversations she could guess they were on their way to work as well. They must have been good friends as they were always killing time gossiping vigorously.

On her right she could see the middle age ordinary lady in very funny shoes. They were shaped with all toes separate. She remembered seeing such socks but not shoes so it must have been a new trend. She was looking around for a man, he was always with this lady - they created a wonderful couple but for some reason he couldn’t be seen anywhere today. She noticed them a few months ago, always holding hands and hugging like teenagers falling for the first time yet she could tell they were much over forty for sure. It was such a warm and reassuring view, knowing that people still can show each other affection in an older age.

‘But Rob wouldn’t take their father place’ she thought. Besides they were young adults now and were making their own decisions. Still, she could imagine her mother’s words if she suddenly told her she has a man. Mum would say that woman in her age should not think about romance anymore, that she was too old for falling in love like a teenager. ‘Oh boy, what am I thinking?! My mum cannot find out, she wouldn’t approve!’ she thought shocked by her own thoughts.

Still the empty seat next to her made her realise how big the hole in her heart was. It was really painful to go through the day without his morning kiss, especially today as it was her birthday. She hoped they can sneak out for a lunch together but instead he was ill and it was quite likely she wouldn’t see him tomorrow or the next day either. ‘How can I manage to live without him for another few days?’ she thought with exasperation.

She wished the life was easier, she wished they could be together all the time. And sometimes, in her boldest dreams she wished they could live together, under the same roof. She loved him dearly although she knew she shouldn’t, not in her age. She was a mother of two children and buried her husband; the romance was not for her.

She was sitting in her seat with eyes half closed and lost in her thoughts. With her shoulders heavy and heart aching she wasn’t looking forward to the day. ‘Train is now approaching London Waterloo station, this is a final stop for this destination, please take all your luggage with you’ she suddenly heard. ‘Time to move’ she sighed and her eyes accidentally glanced at her feet. She smiled seeing her funny shoes with separate toes.

It was a gift from him, a crazy thing he has done on a whim. He knew that she had always a problem with shoes as they were too tight for her toes so he thought five finger shoes with special space for each toe would be perfect for her. She had a lot of trouble explaining how she has got them to her family, coming up with some unbelievable story just to hide the fact it was from a man. She liked them a lot and they were really helping her feet. She cherished them much as they were reminding her about Rob and having them at home felt like part of him was always with her.

If only they could spend more time together. They talked about it several times and he insisted they told her children about their relationship but she kept saying she wasn’t ready. She kept promising that when they will be longer together then it will be more appropriate. But it never was. They were together for more than 9 months now and she still was too afraid of what her family may think to even consider such an option.

But today she felt differently, her heart was aching so badly and she really wanted to be with him on her birthday. She also wanted to check if he was OK, if he needed some medicines or maybe just a hot tea. If only she could pop to his place after work with some cake…

She got off the train and suddenly noticed a couple in front, they were in their late sixties, holding hands and talking lovingly to each other. She has got to the realisation that it doesn’t look odd to her, that she actually envies them, and that she wants to be like them when she will be in their age. She knew that if she won’t do something, she will lose her chance as they cannot hide forever.

‘I can’t let it happen, I’m ready’ she thought firmly. ‘I visit Rob after work’ she decided completely shocked by her own sudden thought. She was still scared but just the idea of seeing him in the afternoon made her feel much, much better. ‘I’ll do it’ she said loudly and few people looked at her but she didn’t care, she just picked a new path in her life. ‘I have a right for love’ she whispered and quickly wiped away tears appearing in corners of her eyes.


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    • Ania L profile imageAUTHOR

      Ania L 

      6 years ago from United Kingdom

      Of course they exist @WannaB Writer, highlighted 'five finger shoes' phrase leads to a hub that talks about them

      @Vinaya, thank you for your comment - as a permanent commuter I have nothing else to do than observe people :)

      Thank you @Ghaelach and yes we often miss the train but you know, there is always another one and possibly it can take us to even more interesting place

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Hi Ania.

      Lovely story.

      It happens a lot in life, missing the train as they say.

      If only i had followed my feelings it would have been different today.

      Take care Ania.

      LOL Ghaelach

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

      Vinaya Ghimire 

      6 years ago from Nepal

      Your observation of commuting lives is very interesting. The analysis of central character is nice. Good writing!

    • WannaB Writer profile image

      Barbara Radisavljevic 

      6 years ago from Templeton, CA

      Do five-toed shoes really exist? Just curious. I didn't predict that ending, so you surprised me. Voted up and beautiful.


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