She looked up at him and a surge of warmth hit her in the throat. She looked down again and saw his bags, everything he treasured packed neatly inside, sitting on the floor on either side of him. He was clutching his ticket.
She’d known it was coming. She wasn’t ready.
“I’ll call you,” he said. “As soon as I get there, I promise.” She smiled, intending to nod but couldn’t move.
A tear slid down her cheek. She wasn’t ready.
“Don’t cry, love,” he whispered, smoothing her hair with the palm of his hand. “You know I hate to see my lady cry.” He pulled her into his arms, knowing full well that she was wondering why he was leaving her, and he didn’t have an answer. He’d been offered a job – a good job – out of town, of course, and it was she who urged him to follow his heart and take it.
But she wasn’t ready.
He thought about all the other hard goodbyes that took place in that train station. Relocation. War. And those who, like him, were reluctantly breaking someone’s heart.
He held her for a long time; she silently hoped he’d change his mind. Something about the final boarding call came over the loudspeaker and she felt the blood rush from her face. He repeated his promise to call and added a second to return. He picked up his bags and turned to go; she shut her eyes and turned sideways.
She shrunk onto the floor, her back pressed against the pillar, and sobbed uncontrollably.