I took my seat and noticed them immediately. As the train pulled out and began its steady chug, chug along the tracks he looked at her and found her perfect. She saw his gaze and, mirroring the smile, reached a hand across the table dividing them. “You are intermittent sunshine. You’re fair-weather cloud,” she said. In retaliation, playfully and with delicate accuracy, he flicked a mite of paper that was balled up in front of him. It struck her softly on the left breast. “Well you…” he began. “If you were a time of day you’d be dusk. Or dawn. Because in an instant it’s impossible to tell them apart!” She coughed her laughter and threw a ballpoint which connected with the little finger on his left hand. “You’re an emu. In size, grace and sound,” she said. He stood up, reached over and pulled one of the hairs of her head loose. “You’re fool’s gold!” He said this with a hint of abrasion. Her response was to poke him in the right eye, slowly but firmly. His pain was drowned out by her slightly raised voice: “You’re a deceptively tasty burger from a restaurant of ill-repute! You’re the resulting diarrhoea!” For that, he kicked her, hard, under the table. He felt her shin bone dent under his significant shoe. In sheer surprise at his own aggression he shouted: “You’re a two-stringed, battered double bass!” With this she pulled three hair grips from her raven barnet, stuck the sharp ends under his finger nails and shoved them home. “You’re October; always!” she squawked.
He pulled a blade.
She drew a pistol.
They faced each other: a lovers’ standoff.
“You’re an ice-cream van with busted chimes!”
“You’re the next Dan Brown novel!”
A flurry of slashing and shooting; a blizzard of blood.
“You’re a mouldy chaise-longue!”
“You’re the waft of dog shit after mowing the lawn!”
“You’re a pensioner’s sex toy!”
“You believe you’re jazz…but you’re soft rock at best!”
Eyes were gouged. Arms, legs, split in the worst places. Cheeks were torn to reveal tattered gums and veins were yanked out in their dozens. And then: a tunnel.
I saw them leave the train. I watched them step onto the platform. “I love you,” he slurped, through broken teeth and over his chomped tongue. “I love you,” she hissed back, sincerely, through the hole in her neck. And they sloped off down the platform, together. Arm in arm, hand in hand.