The Railway Crossing

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic
Sometimes life doesn't go as planned...

Submitted: October 21, 2013

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Submitted: October 21, 2013



The sun was bleeding out into the western horizon as she walked the familiar path she'd traced with her feet so many times before.

The track ran abandoned into nowhere, the slats cracked and green with age, the rails spotted with orange rust like flaking lichen. Thick scrub grew high on both sides, the ground now more sand than stone. The metal was still warm where the sun had kissed it at midday; her toes brushed against it and came away with burns as she chanced to stumble a little.

She was holding hands with him once more, their fingers twined, swinging back and forth like young children. The action had always made him laugh; she loved his laugh. It was the sound that brought her spirits up and taught them to fly, the motivation behind her as she dragged herself to work daily, the zest behind their passionate kisses. The taste of his minty toothpaste; the sharp spicy scent of his aftershave; the gentle scrape of his stubble on her soft cheek.

She loved them, too. She loved it all.

They'd bought their first house together. He'd helped her when she struggled to drive. She helped him when he chanced on disaster in the kitchen, and ate the result with dignity and a warm smile to make him feel good. They'd shared their first kiss in the Trocadero Gardens of Paris, within view of the Eiffel Tower as young children played all around them and roses bloomed in the evening sky like so many bouquets. They'd dined on a chequered blanket, with sparkling white wine and lush new strawberries until the sunset turned indigo and the stars danced the tango, winking down at them. It had been the perfect fairytale.

The evening was muggy. Moths fluttered about her head as she walked, and the faintest whisper of a breeze lifted a chestnut ringlet from her shoulder and played with it using soft, cool fingers. He walked beside her, barefoot too, as silent as the moths, as silent as the breeze, as silent as this old track had been for years now.

There was a road too, but barely anyone used it. They were alone, just like they used to be.

A Warbler started trilling in a particularly large clump of gorse. There was a scratch, a squeak, as a rodent passed by, avoiding the Buzzard that circled above. Wispy cotton-wool clouds scudded across the evening as if racing, spreading their content thinner and thinner until they became invisible.

If either of them had anything to say, they didn't say it. Her skirt swayed in ripples of yellow fabric with every movement. The skirt had been a gift from his parents, to congratulate them on a successful engagement. The pendant around her delicate neck had been from her own; a ruby, multi-faceted and ringed with gold from a chain of minute silver links. It reminded her of the Parisian sunset, the strawberries, and his lips as they came towards her.

She reached the point she always stopped. She wasn't about to break the tradition.

There was concrete here, instead of stones and sand. Small chunks lay scattered, and stuck in her bare soles as she stood there, staring down the road. It seemed to stretch on forever, a thick black mark on the countryside, too small to be visible from space, too significant for her to abandon.

A glint caught her eye as the sun slid down a little further. She reached forward and plucked the scrap of destroyed metal from the verge, releasing his hand to turn it delicately in her fingers, holding it as if it were some holy relic. It was once blue, but the paint had been forcefully scraped away. She traced the scars, remembering the feel of the car it came from, the smoothness of the wheel under her hands, the tightness of nerves that bound her chest in an iron cage as he climbed in and started to instruct her in that ever calm, ever encouraging way he had.

She pressed the metal to the skin of her throat, and turned back to him, but he wasn't there. He'd left her again. He never went far, he always came back to her, to hold her in his arms and kiss her head, and magically, she'd be complete. He always came back...

Until now.

In his place was the car, torn up and broken on its roof with another nearby, on fire. She hadn't been in that vehicle. She hadn't been there. But she dreamed about it as if she had. And behind the wreckage was the cowled figure of Death himself. She saw him rise from the wreck and walk towards it. She tried to cry out, but it was done.

It was done. Death took him by the hand and led him somewhere better, better than with her, better than their cosy flat in the city. She needed him more.

Tears splashed down her face, the pain as acute as if it had happened yesterday, though it had been months now. Her hand felt cold where he'd let go of it.

She slowly got down to her knees on the warm road surface and wrapped her arms around the huge swell of her abdomen. It wasn't just was the child. The child. His child. Their child.

It never got the chance to meet its father.

And it never would.

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