Emily Sinico had forgotten the last time she had travelled out of Dublin. She stood on the verge on the railway platform, in the cold night air, waiting for the train. She had dressed appropriately, making sure to select her astrakhan ensemble to front the inevitable chill. It had been a long time since she had worn her favourite jacket, yet tonight she deemed it suitable.
The last time she had worn this jacket was at the Rotunda, a silent and lifeless house, when she had found herself in the company of a Mr James Duffy. Mr Duffy was a Dubliner and kept a room across the city, by Magazine Hill way. She never saw his dwellings, though she could vividly envisage the habitat of such a man. His face was worn and it seemed to her a façade of a city building, tainted by wear and lingering upon a lost sense of nobility. The abrasiveness of his countenance was softened however, by the presence of his dark, perceptive eyes.
Mrs Sinico had not always lived in Dublin. Before her hand was promised to Captain Sinico, who sailed mercantile boat between Dublin and Holland and kept a steady income, she had dwelled in the more regional area of Leghorn. Her heritage had always been with these parts until she, the last descendant of her family, had married into the city. She strained to remember the last time she had seen the green hills of Leghorn. Every time she tried to remember those tranquil and unscathed lands, the broken, cobbled streets of Dublin carved their path into memory.
The stark signal of the approaching train echoed in the night. Though the coach was still out of sight, Emily could feel the earth beneath her shudder. The darkness could not hide the impending engine, for the luminous plume of steam seemed like a knife against the black sky. Slowly, the train was coming. She quivered in the cold, though it seemed the frost came from within.
Mr Duffy had often visited her after their meeting at Rotunda. Her husband was blindly oblivious, suspecting their visitor of being a potential suitor for his daughter. It never occurred to him that any man would take an interest in his wife. They would talk endlessly, sharing the thoughts that had before lingered secretly and speaking the words that, until then, had been stifled. She caught herself reliving their moments together and had initially sought to end the habit. However, her resistance proved weak, and she often indulged herself in the remnants of their secret union.
The naked lights of the train suddenly appeared as the corner fell behind. The gait of the machine quickened as it ploughed onwards. The smooth neck of the bottle slipped from her fading grasp and shattered upon the hard concrete.
He had left her. She knew their union could not last. Yet when he had spoken his final words and walked away, she still felt the sting. The wound of a connection, one that had always been doomed, even though she had done her best to deny it.
The glare of the lights shone merciless upon her. The cold night air froze her fresh tears and she struggled to hear her gasps under the engine’s roars. The platform beneath her trembled and with one final movement, she stepped forward.