Love Across The Divide

The Writers' Block #11 - Theme: love across the divide

She was Little Miss Perfect in her slimline business suit and stylish black shoes; hair tied back, screaming efficiency; eyebrows trimmed to match the frames of her glasses, with just enough makeup for a healthy glow; face... so… pretty. She lowered her pilates-toned figure into the seat opposite, her skirt rising above her knees as she clamped them together in a ‘nothing-to-see-here’ manner.


I tried to look nonchalant, raising my chin slightly, jutting out my jaw, sucking in my stomach. But Sam dribbled. I fumbled for a tissue. The action made the woman look across, staring as I struggled to wipe Sam’s face.


Thinking I had found a quiet, unoccupied carriage this awkward woman had boarded at Rickmansworth and now, as they always did, burned with questions.


She tilted her head slightly. ‘What’s her name?’


Sam turned to her.


‘Sam,’ I muttered, wishing Chorleywood would come into view.


Sam licked her lips.


‘She’s gorgeous.’


‘Yes.’


The woman glanced at me, expecting more.


I said, ‘She has a brandy barrel for special occasions.’


This made the woman laugh. Her teeth shone as her lips parted. She pushed the glasses further up her slim nose with an index finger, then her hand swept a loose silky strand of hair behind her ear. ‘May I stroke her?’


‘Er...’


Too late. Her outstretched hand caused Sam’s head to be in her lap faster than a greyhound chasing a rabbit. I was left with her lead in one hand and her wagging tail brushing across my knees.


‘She has such beautiful eyes. So brown. And her ears!’


She toyed with Sam’s ears.


I closed my eyes, knowing what was about to happen. ‘Sam?’ Sam pulled away at my request and sat beside me, staring at the woman, still umbilically attached by silvery saliva threads - two large slug-trails smeared along her skirt like a runway for small planes. One globule was teasing its way over the summit of her knee and making slow but steady progress toward her shin. The woman’s face changed. Her nostrils flared and then she snorted as her head flew backwards and she barked a joyous round of machine gun laughter.


‘I’m going to give you my number,’ I consoled, ‘so I can arrange payment for the dry cleaning.’


Our eyes met and my earlier frustrations seemed so petty and foolish. She smiled, repeating the hair-sweeping action and gave me her phone to input my name and number. ‘My name’s Emma.’


‘It’s been a pleasure meeting you in these ridiculous circumstances,’ I said.


‘THE NEXT STATION IS CHORLEYWOOD.’


Deep down, I cursed the train’s speed, bringing our brief encounter to an end.


I stood up. ‘This is our stop.’


‘Oh. Shame. I’m going to Chesham.’


Sam wasn’t budging. She looked at us both numerous times, tail wafting, then snorted a half-bark as though giving me instructions.


I sat down. ‘We’ve never been to Chesham.’

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