I slumped down in my seat, put my head back and heaved a big sigh of relief: I had managed to catch the train with two minutes’ grace. Having run up the steps from the underground and across the busy concourse at Victoria station, I was sweating, and quickly stripped off my jacket and scarf. Liftoff! We were moving. As I settled down to read my book, I heard a man’s voice in the seat immediately behind me –
‘Hi darling, it’s me. Sorry about earlier. I was in a meeting. Can you talk?’
He spoke gently and with a soft, southern Irish accent. I didn’t actually want to listen but unless I put my earphones in – or moved seat – I didn’t have a choice: his words came straight into my ears and brain. After a packed tube journey, I was looking forward to some peace on the train. Oh well, I thought, most men don’t have long personal calls in public. And then I heard –
‘The thing is, I’m not saying never. I just think it’s too soon for us now.’
By the sounds of it, this was obviously going to be a very personal conversation and I wasn’t sure whether the man knew that he could be overheard. So I gave a clichéd cough to let him know and to give him the opportunity of moving somewhere more private. To my surprise, he continued –
‘I mean, in six or twelve months things might be different. Just because this flat has come up now, I don’t think that it would be a good idea to move in together before we are ready. There will be more flats.’
‘Yes, I do love you, and, yes, I am committed to you. You know that.’
By now, I have to admit that I was intrigued. I found myself wondering what the other person was saying and what she was like. And what the man looked like. It didn’t sound like the news was going down very well.
The man sitting opposite me pulled his glasses an inch down his nose, and peered at me, raising his eyebrows. He smiled wryly.
‘Blimey!’ he mouthed.
Suddenly, the train carriage went black as we raced through a tunnel. Having travelled this route many times I knew that it was a reception black spot, and that the poor man on his phone would get cut off. Sure enough –
‘Fuck it!’ we heard, emphatically, and repeated a few times.
I grimaced in sympathy for him, as did the man sitting opposite me. What a conversation to get cut off in the middle of ….
© Vicky Newham 2012. All rights reserved.
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