The Westbound Train 🚉 Pt. 2

When I get to the train station not even the coffee shop is open yet. The Barista looks at me and tells me to wait a minute and she’ll open up early. She must be new, none of the other baristas are this nice. Or maybe she’s just the weekender, nevertheless within two minutes I’m sipping on the largest black coffee the world has ever seen. Some people don’t understand black coffee, they say it tastes like poison. I say they’re wrong and they can all go to hell. When I lived in Sweden a few years ago everyone drank their coffee black, well most people did. The girl I was dating, Maria, told me that the only reason they had milk, creamer and sugar out was for the tourist. Maria was the first girl I dated after Nora, and in some ways I really loved her, but in so many ways she was a patch for the hole that Nora had left. I have so many good memories from my time in Sweden, from working with a top hockey team, to the coffee, then there’s the chocolate. Everyone talks about Swiss chocolate but Swedish chocolate is to die for. Its one of the things I miss the most. That and the travel, we were so close to Tallinn, Helsinki, Copenhagen, Oslo, and of course those hooligans over in Britain. We used to go away for weekends, things that I can’t do here. I hate that about “Home” If I wanted to travel from Stockholm to Dublin it would cost me 30 Euros, but If I wanted to travel from Toronto to Ottawa, lets say by plane, it would cost me a lot more than 30 Euros for a 45-minute flight.

The strap of my bag is messing up my lapel so take it off and hold it. Inside I have my camera, a book and some gum. The gum inside the bag has probably been there since I got back from Sweden, 2 years ago. While the coffee was a great idea its making me hotter and I can feel the sweat roll down my back. I can see the train coming so I walk over to the trash can and throw the rest of the coffee away. I’m the only one on the platform and when I get onto the train again I’m alone. I sit down, open my bag and take out the book. I can see the camera in the bag, I haven’t used the camera in a long time. Maria gave it to me for our one year anniversary, and I’d use it all the time for my blog, and for work. I ran all the social media for Frölunda Indians hockey team, I took all the photos, edited all the photos, wrote all the articles in English and Swedish. That was back when I thought my life had a little more meaning, now I’m an over glorified wedding photographer. That’s not why I’m on the train this early, the trip usually takes less than an hour but a few days ago someone jumped in front of one of the trains and ruined a portion of the tracks. So there’s some repairs going on and I don’t really want to be late. I close the bag and put the book down. I don’t think I have the attention span to read right now. I put some music on and try to zone out, but every song is a memory and lately the memories have hurt.

I think about the last time I heard this song, it was the night Nora left. I came home, we’d been fighting for a few days, barely talking, I was sleeping on the couch and using the bathroom at the gym. I came home and she was sitting at the table, I had flowers and a book in my hand. I don’t like fighting, never have and especially with her. She’d always get quiet and internalize things. I’d have to pry things out of her. I remember walking over to her and kissing her on her forehead and giving her the flowers and the book. I sat down next to her and asked her how her day was.

“It was fine.” When she said that I knew it was over. I remember biting the inside of my cheek and clenching my jaw.

“Um look, Nora. I don’t want to fight with you. I love you, I’ve been hopelessly in love with you since that day in the bar. I don’t want to fight with you, I hate fighting with you. But you’ve been so distant since coming back from your trip. What’s wrong? Is this not working anymore?” I knew the answer. For a while now she’d been pushing me away, it had been adding to a lot of pressure I already had. It led to some of the most severe panic attacks I’d ever had. A lot of sleepless night, long drives and run trough’s of how this break up was going to be. I wanted to yell at her, I wanted to tell her that she was a bitch. She was the furthest thing from that but I was furious. She was the first person that I really opened up to, she was the one who gave me the courage to start the blog and supported my photography. We’d met years before when we both worked on that project management team in college. We were dating within the year, moved in together a year later, I honestly thought she was the girl I was going to marry. But there we were breaking up. We decided to be friends, but I didn’t think it would work. I felt like she gave up on me in our relationship, and eventually we’d be people that used to date, not friends, but whatever, I loved her so I’d keep her as my friend. I remember when she left that night I just sat on the couch and looked blankly at the TV. We weren’t spending time together anymore, I talked to her about it and she always promised to make it up to me. It just never seemed to happen, that there just wasn’t any time for me anymore and like a fool maybe I hung on longer than I should’ve. No, that wasn’t it, I always thought it was a rough patch, I knew when I woke up in the morning I was happy to see her. I cannot put it into words, but for a long time I’d wake up and see her and just be… simple. I didn’t think we’d ever get here, but planning in life is a bit futile. What stayed with me for a long time was the feeling that she gave up on me. I remember sitting there as music played in the background and I could swear to god every memory we had in this condo came flooding back. Like a ghost she was in the kitchen making coffee, sitting on the couch with her blanket, sipping on wine, blogging, doing whatever! Now the condo was haunted and in many ways since that day my life has been haunted by her. But one thing is still obvious, I miss her, I have since the day I thought we were going to break up. I miss her and I love her and here I am in a suit reminiscing on our failed relationship on my way to catalogue her successful one.