Maggie | By: Chris Evans | | Category: Short Story - Lost Love Bookmark and Share


Maggie sat on the bench watching the trains swoop in and out of the station, watching passengers rushing about their business rucksacks and handbags to hand, venturing to London on the high speed trains, arrivals and departures, often tears, laughter, occasionally shouting, always music and mobile phones blaring…


Maggie sat on ‘her’ bench every Saturday at the old station, converted now for the new trains speeding through, even if the weather was horrible she sat, the cold she did not mind too much, the sting of icy rain on her face and water running down the back of her neck was not so pleasant, but the thought of seeing him could persuade her to visit her haunt even on the wettest of days. Today, the late Spring sun was shining warming her skin, she sat and wondered what the station staff thought of her, sitting there on her bench all those endless weekends. Maybe they thought she was a train spotter, the thought amused her somewhat, maybe they thought she was a terrorist, that made her feel slightly uncomfortable, she looked at her watch, it would soon be time to make her way home, another empty day of waiting..



Each Saturday she had waited in vain, not a sign had she seen, maybe she had dreamt it all that day all those months ago, she remembered it had still been sunny that day in Autumn, after wandering along the riverbank she had decided to make her way home via the station, it was nice to be out in the fresh breeze away from the weekday suffocation of office work.


Crunching leaves underfoot she had enjoyed her stroll thinking what to have for tea she had entered the station, she liked to watch the people, wonder at their destinations, it was her favourite short cut home..


As Maggie made her way across the platform her eyes were drawn to a man sitting on one of the benches, his clothes seemed slightly odd for present day, he wore what looked like a period costume. He stood out next to a group of Gothic dressed youngsters all in black standing nearby, although they did not seem to be paying him too much attention. Maybe he was an actor Maggie thought, on his way to London, seemed a bit extreme though to dress in that sort of costume for travelling. He seemed relaxed and wore the dated clothes with such style it was difficult for Maggie to ignore him, early 1940’s seemed to be about the right time she mused. The man sat with a pipe in his hand, gazing around and writing every so often in a small leather bound pad. Maggie felt a strange curiosity watching him..


Maggie tried hard not to stare but as the man turned towards her she gasped, never had she seen such a handsome face, his hair thick and brown, his rugged good looks with eyes dark and piercing, that seemed to look straight through her. Feeling very strange Maggie made her way to a nearby bench and sat trying to ignore the weird butterflies in her stomach. As she tried to compose herself and plan her swift exit from the station, there was a thud next to her, a large hide case had appeared on the floor by her feet. Looking up she found herself gazing into those piercing eyes, he smiled as he joined her on the bench, feeling unable to breathe let alone speak Maggie tried in vain to return the smile, she was positive she had just sneered at the beautiful stranger. She looked down and could see he had extended his hand in greeting, taking his hand in hers she could feel his cold fingers against the warmth of hers. He held her hand for what seemed like an age and he told her his name was William in a warm clear voice, as he spoke he kept his gaze locked on hers and she found she could not utter a word in reply.


Maggie became vaguely aware of a train pulling into the station, William rose and asked her quietly would she look after something while he went to freshen up, he assured her he would only be gone a few minutes. Maggie looked down at the object William had placed in her hands, it was a beautiful silk wrap, she held it nervously, afraid she might damage it, the material felt so fragile and delicate, she wondered as to what it might hold.


Maggie sat on the bench and waited… William never returned…


After many Saturdays, sitting on the bench, waiting for him to return, Maggie opened the wrap, so lovely with its silver clasp, it contained perfumed letters which Maggie found poignant to read. The letters were from William’s wife, the couple obviously very much in love and saddened at their forced separation. Maggie sat often through the cold dark Winter nights and pondered over William, his story and the letters he had left with her.


Months past, Christmas turned into another New Year, Winter turned slowly into Spring, each Saturday Maggie found herself drawn to the station, the bench and the memory of a man she had shared but moments with..


Today, as all other Saturdays, she sat for a while watching the hubbub around her, football supporters making the station ring with their singing and enthusiasm, the usual passengers busy with their lives, Maggie sat for a while, then as always she rose, walked across the platform, turning at the gate to look back at the bench.. Suddenly there he was!


Standing in front of her bench! Maggie almost screeched and choked over her surprise! Staring closely at the man, fearing a trick of the mind, she studied him for what seemed like an age, the clothes were the same and unmistakably dated, there he was the man who had haunted her every thought since that Autumn day. .


Finally convinced it was definitely William, Maggie moved slowly as if in a dream back across the platform to where he stood watching her with what appeared to be amusement, as she got closer he raised his eyes and smiled at her, he took hold of her hand. Maggie looked up into his dark eyes as his mouth descended and claimed hers, his lips were cool and caressed hers hungrily, he tasted of pipe smoke and mints, his suit rough against her arm as he held her close to kiss her over and over, The kiss was endless, she felt lost in his embrace, time stood still and meant nothing, she knew she had finally come home, they sat close together on the bench, his arm around her shoulders, hands entwined, as they talked in whispers for hours, she listened to his words, tales of his life, his thoughts, his humour making her giggle from time to time, his eyes twinkling as he related his stories, as they exchanged hopes and dreams, his strength giving her comfort as she rested her head on his shoulder. All she could hear were his words, flowing like balm over her senses, healing the silence. As time passed the Spring sunshine changed to shadows and the air became cooler, William stood up drawing her with him, holding her close once more he rested his lips against her hair and again kissed her mouth deeply, suddenly Maggie felt an icy cold breeze, opening her eyes…William had gone…


Maggie stood for a while on the platform, her fingers on her lips where his had brushed seconds ago. Passengers milled around, nobody noticing her as she stood quietly, sadly and so utterly alone once again. Maggie knew she would not come to the station again, William had come back to say goodbye, she knew that now, William had gone forever, she looked down, and there on the floor was the silk wrap, it had fallen from her hands during William’s final kiss. Maggie opened the wrap, the letters were gone, in place of the letters was an old cream piece of paper, Maggie began to read the faded words written on it…


Maggie left the station and walked slowly half a mile up the road to the old Church. Walking around to the back of the Church yard Maggie looked at all the grave stones, mostly new and white marble, decorated with ornate flowers, Bibles and Angels. Maggie made her way to the old overgrown section of the grave yard, where the stones had slumped and fallen over the many years that had passed since they were laid. Moss covered many of the stones, the engraved words lost with age, weather having crumbled many loving verse. Maggie searched every stone, finally she found it, the name on the big old grey stone almost buried right in the corner of the graveyard,

adorned with ivy, surrounded by nettles and long grass. Maggie tugged away at the ivy exposing the engraving on the stone, the words only barely readable..


Maggie found tears running down her cheeks as she read on the stone…


In Loving Memory of William,

Died May 1943.. aged 27..

Loving Husband of Margaret..

Gone but not Forgotten..

Always in our Hearts…

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