The whistle blew its loud, piercing warning. I ran back through the station and was helped up the steps by a conductor. Several heads looked up to stare as I rushed to settle myself in a vacant seat. One by one they returned to their own conversations.
Several moments of deep breaths and I regained my composure.
I clutched the overfilled valise to my chest as the train lurched forward.
A black crepe mourning dress was folded up within. It would end up terribly wrinkled by the time I was able to put it on but it would have to do. I would need a bonnet and long veil at the next stop in Leeds.
The brooch, my Recuerdo, would do nicely. I touched it absently, pinned to the bodice my traveling dress. I had carried it with me all these months. I wanted to open it again, to see his woven hair within but I resisted the urge.
Maybe some jet earrings to complete the ensemble?
Not that anyone would be able to tell beneath the veil…
The fatigue began creeping up on me again, but I was afraid to close my eyes, to let down my guard. The hard wooden bench would not offer a bit of comfort and so I willed myself to remain awake, staring at the passing scenery.
I leaned my cheek against the cool glass of the window.
Soon I would see his hand, his fingers. His face itself was dimmed in my mind but I could remember the feel of his hands in great detail. I had spent many hours in the dark of night tracing the nails and callouses and the feel of the knuckles over and over again in my memory, how my hand always seemed to fit perfectly within his as if they were meant for each other from the beginning.
His words whispered into my ear cloaked in blackness in Edinburgh so many years ago, the words that still sent shivers down my spine… Forgive me.
What was love that it could drive a person so mad? Was this love? Or was it something else, something more sinister? How could I really know?
I had thought that Anne would be my consolation, better than a brooch, a living vessel to pour my love into. She was not enough, though. Not when I saw him in her eyes each day, looking back at me.
God forgive me, I had not known.
If I had it to do over again, what would I choose?
This was the only way to find peace.
What would tomorrow or the next day bring?
I shifted my cheek to a new spot on the cool window glass and closed my eyes for a moment. It was such a chore to focus on the fields of the passing farmland outside with such heavy eyelids.
The color of the red sun filtered through my closed eyelids. The light faded as the train turned, moving my side of the car into the shade, becoming gray and then finally black as we entered into a tunnel…