The Waiting Hall

He pushed open the door to the waiting hall, greeted by the loud squeal of the never lubricated entrance door and the familiar train station smell; the smell of cold fried food mixed with the faint smell of sweat, the cleaning supplies used to wipe the chipped floor tiles, the train´s gasoline, and burned plastic.
He glimpsed up to the big clock at the wall at the other end of the waiting hall. He was too early, but still he crossed the hall with long strides to sit down on the benches and wait. The soles of his shoes made a smacking noise whenever he sat his feet down on the tiles. As he reached the bench, his glance panned back to the clock, but the hands hadn´t moved. He sat down on the bench. The wooden bench made it impossible to sit comfortably, so he first tried to sit with the legs crossed, then balancing one foot on the other leg´s knee, then with a straight back and both feet firmly on the ground. This position seemed to work best with the bench, but it was also the most uncomfortable one. He looked up to check the time, but only one minute had passed. He affirmed the time on his watch, but his watch was late and looking at it agitated him. He was about ten minutes early. Twelve, according to his watch.
He sighed. Then he leaned back and opened the buttons of his coat. It was warmer in the waiting hall then outside. Even though it had been summery warm a week ago, fall had set in at the beginning of this week. The air felt colder and the slight breeze outside made him shiver. He had decided to walk to the train station, which seemed like a good idea when he was at home and looked out the window and decided that it was good weather, but he regretted not taking the car after only having walked down his street. Yet he didn´t want to be late, so he hadn´t turned around to get his car. He glanced at the clock again and thought to himself that he could have jumped back to his apartment on one foot to get the car and still be early.
She always hated his meticulous punctuality. She said it was his most annoying spleen. He had asked her what other traits of him annoyed her, but she said that she was talking about spleens not traits, and left the room. She left the room quite often, fleeing the argument. She hated having to have discussions, even though he liked to talk things out. She said that she liked talking alright, but she hated discussing things. He told her it was a distinction without difference. She had left the room then.
From the inside pocket of this coat he took the letter she had written to him. The envelope was wrinkled and creased. He had carried it with him since he had pulled it out of his mailbox. It had been a lousy day at work and he had gotten home stressed and in a strange mood. He had wanted to pick a fight with someone, but he knew that the certain someone he wanted to pick a fight with had left months ago. That made him angry. He had pushed the door open fiercely so that it smashed into the corridor´s wall. He had stomped over to the mailboxes and that is where he had found the letter. As he turned it over to read the return address, he already knew that is was from her. He knew her hand writing well. She had left him little notes every once in a while. She pinned them to the bathroom mirror, hid them in his books, smuggled them into his briefcase or left them on the breakfast table for him to read. When he saw her neat hand writing, the anger fell from him. He snorted deeply moved by a feeling he couldn´t understand. A warning pain ached in his heart. He had thought to himself that he probably shouldn´t read it. Though at the same time he wished to read her apologies and try and understand why she had left him. With shaking fingers he had ripped the envelope open and took out the single page with her neat hand writing on it and had started reading, his shoulders tense with cautious excitement.
He felt every single emotion rushing through him again as he reread the letter sitting on the bench in the waiting hall. He had read it a thousand times, had read each line, he had read between the lines, he had wrung the hidden message out of every single word, sentence, and paragraph. At first he frowned at her words. He had expected to read that she was sorry for leaving him and that she felt sorry for the way she had left. But she only told him that she had to get away and that she wouldn´t be able to explain why, because she just felt like she had to leave and that´s what she did. He wouldn´t have understood even if she tried to explain it.  That angered him. He would have understood. She just didn´t know how to explain, because there was no inner feeling telling her to leave. She had just left without any reason. But then his anger turned into a deeply felt empathy when she described how much she wished that she could come back. How much she missed him. How much she missed the life she had had with him. How much she missed to be with him. To be held. To be kissed. The warm love he felt for her embraced him and pushed the anger right out of his body.
In the loud noise of the waiting hall, he closed his eyes and tried to remember the shape of her face, her curled dark hair, the way she smirked when she thought something was funny, her sparkling eyes that greeted him every day when he got home from work, the way her shoulders tensed when she got angry. He tried to remember the shape of her lips, the outline of the mole on her left thigh, the curve of her body and how it felt to hold her at night. He tried to remember her innate smell; she smelled of sun, grass, and flowers he couldn´t name. He felt happy holding her at night, breathing in her scent.
He opened his eyes and the memories faded, replaced by the noise of walking people, pulled suitcases, people´s mutter and mumble, and the displeasing smell of the train station. His eyes flickered to the clock, but only five minutes had passed.
He held the letter up again and read on. She asked him whether he would take her back. She wished to come home as she hadn´t found happiness elsewhere. She now knew that her happiness was with him. She told him she loved him.
He sighed when he read the words he had read so often. She had asked him to be at the train station at three o´clock to pick her up, if he wanted to be with her as much as she wanted to be with him.
He sighed again.
Now, sitting in the train station waiting for her train to come, he noticed that he wasn´t sure if he wanted to be with her as much as she wanted to be with him. He knew he had only been happy with her. He knew he had loved her with all his heart. He knew that she had been his mate. He knew that with her at his side he had never been miserable or felt lonely. He knew that when he had held her at night and had listened to her soft breathing he had been on top of the world.
His eyes flickered nervously to the clock. Three more minutes.
He looked at the letter in his hand, as wrinkled as the envelope, the crease worn out from reading it over and over again. He looked at the beautiful hand writing and the meaningless words. He wasn´t sure if he wanted to be with her as much as she wanted to be with him, because he didn´t know if she wanted to be with him at all.
One more minute.
Resolutely he scrunched up the letter and tossed it in the trash can next to the bench. As he got up and left the train station, the hands of the big clock at the other side of the waiting hall moved, but he didn´t hear the three momentous chimes.

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