The Platform Lovers – 6 – The Thin Pink Line

Nervous indecision, guilt, anxiety, delight, fear of the future, fear of the consequences of his indiscretion.

All of the above?

John had been unable to sleep since he received the text last night. He could tell that Carol Ann was sleeping beside him, her breathing slow and quiet, the peaceful sleep of those who have nothing to hide.

His reassurances had obviously worked, just as well he had bought the second pay-as-you go mobile or he really would be in deep shit by now.

He corrects himself, he is still in deep shit. But at least now he has a choice and he has some control over the outcome. If Carol Ann had read the contents of that text then she would have dropped him in a second.

He had smiled when he saw the text waiting for him, he always smiled when there was a text waiting for him. She was the only person that knew this number. During the day at work he sat there with the volume off, placing the phone on top of his pc so that the vibration reverberated against the hollowness of the box.

But at home, it was on silent, ringer off, vibration off. The phone was then placed in his secret hidey-holes where his wife would never look, high up above the kitchen units or alternatively above the vanity units in the little used family bathroom. Where he had his collection of Q Magazines waiting and would spent time reading while he did his business and sent a few texts. Easy discreet access was the key.

He was confident that there was no reason for her to look in these places. He could always access the phone easily, either going to the loo or making her tea and toast in the morning before he went to work and she left an hour later.

This was a routine that he followed every day without fail. The consequences were too serious to get it wrong.

At first the text seemed ordinary, nothing obvious to worry about.

“Can you have a look at this pic and tell me if you see what I see? x”

He smiled and wondered what it was, she often sent him pics of her dog or from the internet, usually daft uplifting thoughts, that kind of bored him in their predictability but pleased him that she thought of him like that. That somehow she was thinking of him just as much as he was thinking of her even although he was trapped in a relationship with another woman.

At first he struggled to make out what the image was, the screen was nearly all grey with some white plastic device and a small grey screen containing one thick pink line and one extremely faint pink line, little more than a few dots on his screen.

Then he recognised it, every nerve firing and silent words falling from his mouth.

“Fuck! . Fuck, Fucking Fuck! Jesus, Fucking Fuck!”

He stared at it, zoomed it in. The line, if it was actually a line, was extremely faint against the grey backdrop. But there was definitely pink there.

“I thought you were making tea?” His wife calls, sounding much nearer than the lounge.

He quickly closes the phone and sticks it in his pocket, reaching for a couple of mugs and placing them on the worktop and leaning against it doing his best impression of looking nonchalant.

“I was just waiting on the kettle to boil” He replies just as she comes through the door.

“But you haven’t even put it on yet”

“Oh sorry honey, I thought I had, you know what I’m like nowadays!” He smiles at her, hoping that she buys the excuse.

“Yes, you’re definitely getting worse since you hit the big 5-oh!” She smiles at him and turns the kettle on then kisses him gently on the cheek.

He pulls her towards him, holding her tightly.

“I’m sorry” he whispers “I’m really sorry.”

And on this occasion he actually means it.

The Platform Lovers – 5 – Two Moments

I walked past him today, the tall straight-laced never smiling brief-case man.

You know that way when you see someone every day, well every working day as we get the same train every morning, and I mean every morning.

How sad is that?

You know that they recognise you, because you recognise them, sometimes you say hello, or nod an acknowledgement.

Or sometimes you don’t and you wonder why. You question yourself, is it me? Or is it them? Am I unattractive, dull and uninteresting?


So it must be them and they have communication skills as good as my micro-wave. But even that annoying fucker bleeps until you acknowledge it.

I’ve made this train journey most days for almost 10 years and for all of that time, brief-case man has always been there. A constant in my life that I know absolutely nothing about, apart from the fact that he never smiles and has two young kids that seem to piss him off.

Of course he recognises me as much as I recognise him; it’s not as if I change my hair or clothing, just the usual jeans, boots and casual jacket. My working uniform of choice.

I had spotted him in the distance. I was walking down the hill to the station and he was walking up. Our paths were bound to cross on the narrow pavement squeezed between the small sandstone garden walls and the street full of parked cars whose owners had disappeared on the earlier trains.

I could tell that he had seen me too; there was a brief moment of eye contact before he started to stare straight ahead. Now that he’s spotted me, it was as if he was deliberately avoiding eye contact, I wonder why?

The distance between us shortens, 30 yards and closing, he’s still staring straight ahead.

I’m looking ahead, not directly at him, more at some point in the distance over his head and definitely not making eye contact.

But the thought crosses my mind, why are you walking up the hill today?

Have you forgotten something?

Maybe left the iron on?

He’s 10 yards away; we’re now on level ground it’s difficult to look anywhere else except right at him. But even without making eye contact I can still make observations, He really is a tall man, bolt upright and far too scrawny for his height.

He’s now 5 yards away, I prepare myself to make some acknowledgement, to give a nod of recognition or say good morning and keep walking.

But the bastard beats me to it!

Without so much as a word of warning, he turns his head to the left and starts pretending that he’s looking over the small sandstone wall at some very fascinating imaginary feature which suddenly caught his eye in the grassy garden next to us.

Bastard! J

I kick myself and wish that I’d spotted that imaginary feature first!

A few seconds later, we pass each other, both turning our shoulders slightly, giving each other room to pass then we continue on our separate paths never to speak. Well maybe not today but there’s a lot of story to be told yet and I’m still making it up!

At the station five minutes later, they are both there, rock-chic and rock-guy, standing at the top of the platform away from the crowd and further along the platform than the carriages ever stop.

They obviously want their privacy and even at this distance they are both very animated in their discussion, hands gesticulating with every comment and counter-comment and foil and parry of their somewhat heated discussion.

This is the first time I’ve saw him in over a month but she’s been here every day. In the first week she had looked for him. I could tell that she had been hoping he would arrive but not now, now she had accepted that he wouldn’t be there and moved on with her life.

But today, he has his hands up in protest as she berates him, but his gesture does not stop the torrent coming from deep inside her. He has obviously said something inflammatory which has ignited some hidden blue touch paper inside her and the resulting explosion I would not wish upon my worst enemy.

Heads are now turning, people who either hadn’t noticed them previously or were ignoring the animated scene are now staring along the platform even although their train is due to arrive from the other direction.

“Of course it’s fucking yours!” She screams at him.


This is part 5 of The Platform Lovers for part 1 click here.

Lady Helen, Dad And Burt Bacharach!

Saturday, I took my dad for dinner and a few drinks in Edinburgh then to see Burt Bacharach at the Usher hall.

Let me say this .. FANTASTIC!!

So many songs of my lifetime that I had forgotten he wrote. Check out the setlist here.

One of the vocalists,  the gorgeous Josie James sang Anyone Who Had A Heart .. my mums favourite, me and my dad both had a tear in our eyes.

But …. guess what ….

I met a lady on Saturday night.

I mean a proper lady.

Helen, very petite, dancer petite, with her white blonde hair and sparkley blue eyes.

She came in on her own and sat next to my dad and I, in the front row of the Grand Circle at the Burt Bacharach concert.

She moved very graceefully in her ballet slippers, wearing a silk coat, one of those oriental prints, not fashionable but suited her.

Before the concert she was telling us about having seen Burt every time he plays Glasgow or Edinburgh because he was her husbands favourite.

Then she sat there and cried some happy tears, this beautiful spritely 80 year old lady.

She and my dad got on like a house on fire ..and quietly sang every word as predicted .. the singing not the quietly!

After the concert we walked Helen outside where her cab was waiting and she disappeared into the night.

But for a couple of hours, Helen, Dad, Burt and I had a real ball.

And yes there were a few tears!!

Last night, sat in on my own and played piano and watched Glastonbury!!

The Rolling Stones, immense as usual, how much do I want them to tour again?

By chance, earlier, I had heard Alicia Keyes play Wild Horses. so I taught myself it on piano.

What a fantastic song, but the Stones’s original is much much better!