'The Journey' by Tracy Kuhn


The train carriage was hot and crowded and as soon as we stepped into it I immediately wanted to get off. What was I thinking? How did I ever think that this would be a good idea? We should have said no. I should have said no.
The doors closed behind me, the beeping noise a signal, like the turn of a key in a lock. I was trapped in this carriage for the next two and a half hours. Not on my own of course; these days I hardly ever was, but with some friends and their children. And of course my husband. A man I don't think I love any more. Damn. I hadn't realised that until that very second, just then, that I wrote that.
He made a fuss of course, he always does. He has to draw attention to himself, has to announce his arrival. This time it was about our reserved seats and the fact that a young couple had sat in them. There was no need to be so aggressive about it. I looked the other way, face burning, then tried to look as apologetic as I could without him noticing. When it gets to the point where your own husband makes you fold in on yourself with shame with every word spoken, you know you're in trouble. Eventually, we all sat down. There was an awkward moment when she went for the same seat as him. I'd wondered beforehand where they would sit in relation to each other, how the logistics would work with four adults, two children. As fate would have it, we ended up sitting opposite each other, her and I and she looked pointedly out of the window. She hasn't made eye contact with me for months. Did she feel guilt? Did she suspect I knew? We women are supposed to possess this amazing womanly instinct but I personally think that's nonsense. I had no idea, no idea at all until I read the email. Would he have told me otherwise? Probably not. He'd been dismissive about it, had made it into my problem, about me. How could he be blamed if she'd fallen for him a little bit? It wasn't a big deal, he had no feelings for her and it really wasn't anything to do with me. Except now I was sitting opposite her for the next couple of hours, trying to make conversation around this huge black hole that had opened up between us all. It seemed that everything led back to him and it was exhausting trying to anticipate how the conversation would go and try to steer it away from the no-go zone.
Maybe I should have told her that I no longer care. That she was free to have him. But in doing so would have made it real and we had this journey to get through, and this day. After that? He was all hers.

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