Waiting

He glanced at the paper in his hand, then back up at the sign for the third time. Then his watch for the fifth. He folded the sheet twice, three times, until he could fit it in his pocket. It stuck out slightly so he pressed it down as he stood and walked the length of the platform.

Then he sat down and unzipped his jacket and clasped his hands together, resting his elbows on his leg, one of which was bobbing rhythmically. His brows were lightly furrowed as he stared at the tracks. Deep lines on his face spoke of vivid expressions.  Of frowns and tightened features. Of upturned lips and crinkled eyes.

Now he was standing again, his hands clasped behind him as he tried to walk slowly, hesitating as he sets down his foot, over and over, no rhythm to his pace.

He checks his watch again and lets his cheeks puff as he breathes out deeply. He runs a hand through his hair, a grimace twisting his face. Then he pauses and glances at the tracks. His eyes narrow slightly, then widen again and his posture straightens. He strides quickly to the benches, then turns abruptly as a whistle breaks through the air.

He bobs lightly on his heels, his hands now in front of him, expression calm but for the minute upturn of his lips.

The squeal of brakes pierces the thick platform air and a large engine pulls to an agonizing halt. Steam gushes towards freedom as the doors open and passengers do the same. Shouts are heard as people rush from around him, hands outstretched, luggage dropped, names cried out.

His eyes scan rapidly, searching, waiting, lips tight as his chin raises to see over the crowd of heads. Then he stops, his mouth parted slightly, eyes widening every so slowly.

And he’s smiling, a shout emerging as his hand begins to wave. His eyes are sparkling and he’s calling her name over and over, pushing past people without care.

He laughs as he opens his arms wide, launching himself forward. Then he’s in her arms and he’s in hers and he is swinging her up and holding her close. He laughs out her name through tears. Gently he sets her down, taking a moment to simply look.

He grins at her blush and picks up her bags and walks with steps so light. And the paper in his pocket slips out unnoticed, floating to the ground where it lies, wrinkled and handled and lightly torn.

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