August turned out to be a bit of a hiatus for the blog – not altogether planned, but what can you do! However, here’s a wee story to try and get geared up again for September.
Everyone waits under the clock, I mused. As usual I was horrendously early, Amy horrendously late. But I knew better than to expect anything else of my scatterbrained sister. She’d turn up in her own good time, hair flying, possessions in disarray, full of apologies, and can-you-forgive-me’s, and you-know-what-I’m-like. And of course, I do and I can and we’ll hug and head off for a lovely lunch at Patisserie Valerie – so handy for the station, how clever of you Jen!
But sometimes, just sometimes, why can’t it be me that’s the scatty one? The one who always makes the big entrance, instantly claims the limelight and has everyone vying for her attention. I sighed. That just wasn’t me. I’d always be the one hovering in the wings, ready to hang up the coats, fill the glasses, pass round the hors d’oevres. I was the Martha, she the Mary.
My mind wandered thus as I watched the hustle and bustle of the busy station, the ebbs and flows of arriving and departing passengers. I like people-watching; it’s kind of soothing, endlessly fascinating. That’s probably why I lecture in drama and psychology at the University. Ah there she was, on the other side of the barrier hunting furiously in her bag. She’ll have lost her ticket I thought. I resigned myself to wait a little longer – you can’t get through the barrier without your ticket these days.
All at once I became aware of a figure headed in my direction. Oh my goodness, it was Ethan, almost as I’d made him materialise just by the power of thought. If I’m honest he was never exactly out of my thoughts, ever since that time we worked together on the end of term production. I thought he felt the same but he seemed to just disappear once the show was over. I suspected that he’d overheard me telling that creep Russell Tyler that I wasn’t interested in having a relationship with anyone because I was focused on my career. But all the same, if he’d been really interested surely he’d have asked me about it. I was just glad I hadn’t made a fool of myself over it.
And now he seemed to be heading straight for me with that great big stupid grin on his face. Except… I took a quick look over my shoulder, I’ve been caught out more than once responding to a smile that was actually meant for someone standing behind me. But no, he came right up to me. “Jenny! I was just thinking about you and hey presto there you are!” He was thinking about me??
I didn’t reply and must have stood there like a rabbit caught in the headlights. Ethan’s smile faltered and he looked ready to retreat. I suddenly panicked and grabbed his sleeve. “Ethan! I’m sorry, you just took me by surprise. My dad always used to say that if you stood long enough under the clock at Central Station, you’d see the whole world go by!” Now I’d started, my mouth just wouldn’t stop talking.
Out of the corner of my eye I could see Amy standing a few yards away, watching the spectacle of her big sister, the academic, clutching at the sleeve of a rather dishy young man and chattering away nineteen to the dozen. Rather to my surprise she didn’t rush up and demand to be introduced.
I’d just got to the bit where I was starting to explain the whole Russell Tyler thing when Ethan gently put a finger on my lips and shook his head. “I know. And I’m sorry I didn’t stay in touch but there was a bit of a family emergency and I’ve not been around for a while. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I got off the train and there you were almost as if you were waiting for me.”
Which of course I was. I could hardly breathe as we looked deep into each other’s eyes. I knew I was going to make a complete fool of myself now and I didn’t care. Just before I closed my eyes, I saw Amy give me a thumbs up as she turned around and melted back into the crowd. I’ll say this for my sister, she may be scatty, but she’s a blooming genius when it comes to emotional intelligence…