Every day, whilst the train waited on the platform at Holgate, a man looked up from his book and gazed down the embankment. He watched the girl with golden hair in her garden full of sunflowers.
In early autumn, he saw her through French windows in a series of lamp-lit movie-stills. She wore a scarlet robe, and stooped to pick up clothes from a chair.
One evening, as the train doors closed, he saw a man in the room, his face distorted in anger. The girl tried to duck his fist, and stumbled into a table. The train pulled away, but no one acknowledged that they had seen what happened.
The man looked for her the next morning, but the house was grey and silent, and he did not see her again. The garden remained untended, and the windows remained blank. A few weeks later a For Sale board appeared, and in spring he saw a young couple in the garden. There were no more sunflowers, but the man still looked up from his book. He thought about the girl every day.
Then one morning, quite by chance, he saw her, walking along the platform at King’s Cross. He lost her for a moment in the crowd outside the station, but then he caught sight of her hair, a halo of pale fire, as she strode up Euston Road.
After that, he no longer looked up from his book at Holgate; but hurried home to his garden filled with sunflowers.