Story on a train 2: Rings


Breathe, you stupid woman. Breathe.


What the Hell am I going to do?

I can feel the ring on my finger burning my skin. Making the sheathed patch of skin itch and scratch and writhe away from the metal. Or am I projecting too much? I really need to get a grip.

I need to lift my head off the table, sit back in the seat. Maybe pull the hair out my mouth. Try and regain some semblance of control.


Oooo… There’s a man with a drinks trolly. I wonder if a cup of tea and a kitkat would make me feel better? I’m sure it would. Or a wagon wheel…?

No, no, no, no, no. Must concentrate. I have two stops until I am home. Chris will be there to collect me, all shiny and smiling. Waiting for me and my suitcase. And I will need to find a way to explain. Explain. How do you explain this?

Oh God…

Should I take the ring off? Would he notice? There might be a tan line. He is not very observant mind. It took him two weeks to notice when I dyed my hair a couple of years back. I was going through a rather belated phase of rebellion. I mean, you would think blue was pretty hard to miss.

Bugger. That trolley-man is going to get stuck on my suitcase. I should move it…

“So… How was it?”

How do I answer that? Alex and I had a great time. Really ‘girly’.

Yeah, yeah, there was much too much alcohol but then I was with Al. There always is with Al.

Yeah, saw all the sites. Clubs, and history. The Grand Canyon and the Strip. The lights. A church.

The church? Nice, I think. I was a bit hazy by then if I am honest. And it more a chapel really. And we didn’t stop for long…

I don’t think I can do this. I can’t. I wish Al was here.


Oh god. The trolley-man has got wedged in the aisle with my suitcase. It will all be fine as long as I don’t make eye contact.


How can I explain to my boyfriend of 9 years that I got married without him? How can I tell that little round, trusting face that I did what I said I would never do? I said ‘I do’. While off my stupid face. In Las Vegas.

To my best friend.

It will kill him.

Mind you, not as much as the news that we are not breaking it off. That we made a decision. This is it. We made our bed, so to speak. Now we plan to lie in it.

It not sexual, not at all. It’s just… For the first time in my life I am not scared of that commitment. It’s fine. It’s more than fine. It’s exciting. I am actually looking forward to forever.

It was when we found the photo. A naff drive-thru Vegas wedding chapel. All white, with fake pink flowers decorating trellis or wound round plaster Grecian pillars. There is a registrar looking thrilled to have to two grinning girls either side of him. There two people we don’t even recognise. We think they must have been professional witnesses. Probably lured us in, with tequila and a good sense of humour.

But we looked so happy, Al and I. Not that we don’t look happy a lot, but there was a sort of peace about it. Serenity as we hold hands. And, once we got over the tears, the recrimination and panic, once the fog of the hangovers has cleared, we both realised we were still happy. And so we are going to give it ago. Who wouldn’t? A chance at genuine happiness.

So, I have to tell Chris.

And then I am going home and Alex will be there.

Thank God.

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