We’ve all been there.
It’s Wednesday morning on the train platform, you’re already looking forward to both bedtime and the weekend when your train pulls up. Everyone around you treats getting on board like the Hunger Games – there’s elbowing and pushing and you really can’t deal with this much, this early. There’s a seat free! You beat the suspiciously sweaty mid-30s-bloke-with-gameboy to it and sit down with a sigh of relief: the first big battle of the day is won. You look around properly for the first time and there he is.
It’s Mr Perfect. The dream guy. Mr-Everything-You-Ever-Imagined is sitting across from you looking so cute with his horn-rimmed glasses, Clark Kent hair and his feet perfectly together. He has a leather satchel neatly tucked against his leg on the seat beside him and you begin to wonder what’s in it. Important legal documents you suspect. Tide-turning evidence for the high profile case he’s working on.
The you realise why he caught your eye. He’s not wearing a coat OR jacket. Is he mad? It’s about 4 degrees outside. Your icicles have icicles of their own yet there he is, bold as brass, he’s not willing to play winter’s game. His shirt fits extremely well, maybe too well even. So well that you can see into the past, to the weight he was benching in the gym the evening before. He moves, the muscle moves beneath the shirt. He catches your eye and you look away quickly.
You’re in love. This is it. You’ll have some awkward but funny conversation and click instantly. Maybe you’ll go for drinks after work, when he’s won his case with thunderous applause from both judge and jury. You’ll probably get on brilliantly and be fighting to buy each other drinks before he walks you back to the tube, making plans to meet for dinner along the way.
You’ll probably move in after almost a year, it makes sense since you’ll both save so much on rent and bills and his place is so close to your office. You talk about getting a puppy together and conversation swiftly turns to marriage. He wants to get married at his family’s estate in Scotland so you invite everyone up for a Christmas ceremony. Maybe you’ll have kids but maybe you’ll be too busy travelling Tuscany, Marrakech and Ghana. You’ll be old and wrinkled and all your once-best bits will be sagging by the time you both drift away after a lifetime of happin–WE ARE NOW APPROACHING LONDON BRIDGE, WHERE THIS SERVICE WILL TERMINATE–
You snap back to reality, you’ve half slid off your seat and the woman next to you is considering checking you for signs of a stroke. While you were in your head Mr Right took his jacket and overcoat down from the overhead shelf. That explains it. He stands to put them on and you realise this is goodbye forever.
You get off the train and pass through the barrier a few people behind him and, when you go separate ways, half of your mind follows him to that fictional office. The other half prepares for the grieving process. You’re sure it’s not over, than he’ll come rushing around the corner any second. But he doesn’t, and you’re mad at him for leaving you like this, vulnerable and alone. Maybe if you hang around or just retrace your steps you’ll bump into each other. Of course not. By the time you get to work the sadness has well and truly set in, there’s a deep ache inside for you’ve lost. For what could have been.
Eventually you accept what has happened and prepare yourself to move on, you’ve come through the full circle of grief and you’re proud of how much stronger it made you. You let him go, but only with the knowledge that 5pm brings around another train, another Mr Perfect, and you’ll put yourself through it all again.
Words by CONNOR YOUNG