Strangers on a Train

When I was in my teens, my sister was away at University.  I hated her being away.  When she went to York to do a post-graduate course, I occasionally used to be despatched on a train to go and visit her.  I had to change trains in Leeds.  I loved those visits and they weren’t frequent enough for my liking but I always looked forward to them so much.  We used to have such a lovely time.  At one point she lived in a flat above a clothes shop in Micklegate which was just a short walk from the station and she’d come and meet me from the train and we’d walk back to the flat.

She really was (and still is) the most fabulous sister.  She taught me about all sorts of things – at that time it was clothes and makeup.  She also took me to my first nightclub and helped me get all glammed up for it.  Unfortunately it was a very short visit – she was terrified that someone would figure out that I was *really* underage (I was 14 at the time), despite the fact that I was only drinking cola – I only wanted to get up and dance but she was too worried even for that so we left after about half an hour.

I’m digressing slightly.  As usual.

The train journey from my hometown wasn’t straight through – I had to change trains in Leeds.  I loved sitting there, watching the countryside speed by.  It made me feel very grown up and special to be given the freedom to do something like that on my own with no supervision.

During one trip, I changed trains in Leeds as usual and climbed on board the connecting train to York, found a suitable compartment and settled myself down with my book as the second leg was only about 25 minutes.  I heard the compartment door open and as I looked up I saw a young man, not much older than myself, taking up a seat opposite me.

Hey – I was 14 – of course I was going to notice a boy in the immediate vicinity!  Especially when he looked like this one – tall and lean with a cheeky smile and slightly curly hair.  Once he’d got himself settled, we started talking.  I was never consciously very good at the art of flirting but always found something to say, especially to boys.  I seemed to get on with them much better than with girls (something that still happens to this day) and was never awkward around them (unless I really fancied them)  I was once told that I spoke to them like people rather than like members of the opposite sex.  I didn’t understand that comment until I was *much* older – I always assumed that’s how everyone did it.

Anyway, this young man and I struck up a conversation.  I have absolutely no recollection of what the conversation entailed, but am pretty such it was fairly mundane and was certainly short lived as it wasn’t a long train ride to York.  One thing I do remember was that, when I went to get my case down,  he made some sort of flirtatious comment about kissing me and then proceeded to do just that.

Everything leading up to that moment has been forgotten in the mists of time, but I do still remember the toe-curling sensation as his lips met mine.  It was the absolute perfect kiss.  Not too hard, not too soft, not too demanding but not too dispassionate.  I remembered every single nanosecond of that kiss for months and my stomach flipped every time I thought about it.  And it wasn’t just that I hadn’t been kissed much before that day.  Believe me when I say that I’ve had more than my fair share of kissing in my life and that kiss when I was 14, on a train, from a perfect stranger, was one of the most perfect kisses I’ve had in my life.  It was wonderful and heady and I savoured every second, totally unexpected as it was.  It only lasted for a moments but I was temporarily transported to another world where nothing else mattered, just for a short while.

Once the kiss was over, I took my case and got off the train and went to meet my sister with a very big smile on my face.  I don’t remember his name, who he was, where he came from or where he went.  I never asked for his number and he didn’t ask for mine.

But I will never forget that kiss.

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