Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Finlay Keen

The water is a cold steel grey today reflecting the overcast sky, heavy and oppressive to match his heart. Breathing deeply, calming himself down as much as he could Finlay Keen searches the middle distance. If he has timed it right the train will appear to the right and make its way rattling along the tracks, before finally disappearing on his far left. As he waited he surveyed the scene below him. Thousands upon thousands of rooftops nestled amongst the trees, just like one of those plastic scenes with his father’s toy train set. When he was a boy thirty years ago, it had still been set up in the attic at gran and grandad’s. The city looked uninviting on this dismal grey September day. The only colour, being the green of the trees with a slight tinge of red or gold here and there as the leaves begin to turn a little earlier than usual this year. The blue on the side of the college building that marked where the rail track runs along this side of the motorway.

Finlay shuffles his feet and wraps his arms around his body to keep warm, his beige cotton slacks and crisp pale blue shirt no match for the biting wind. He didn’t have his coat with him as he hadn’t wanted to arouse her suspicions as they set off for the station in his maroon Suzuki Vitara. Both of them silent, on this journey into town from his quiet village. From now it would be just him and his doting Jack Russell, Cody. Finlay longs to be on that train with her, his Lizzie, but she would’t be his Lizzie any more. She will revert to being Mrs Elizabeth Robinson, senior accountant at the firm they both work for. There were to be no more monthly visits to the Southampton branch. Liz Robinson was moving to New Zealand with her family. Was it really over two years since Finlay had been introduced to his colleague who would be travelling down from the London office for the first week of each month. Finlay had been charged with the duty of showing the prissy Mrs Robinson the city. At first he had hated this, didn’t think he would get on with her and her accountant’s head. That first night he had taken her for dinner and she had fussed over the bill. But he had to admit she had been right they were taking advantage. Gradually over that first week Finlay had noticed Mrs R begin to thaw. Then as they stood on Southampton Parkway station for her return to her home in Bedfordshire, she had squeezed his hand and kissed his cheek.

By the time Mrs R returned to Southampton a month later Finlay had found that she had been in his thoughts a lot. He had begun to spend time with her because he wanted to. He learned that she was married to David who she adored and they had two boys Marcus 9 and William 6 years old. They lived in a place called Houghton Regis not far from Dunstable from where she commuted daily to the London office and now for a week each month here at his office. Soon Finlay had dropped the Mrs R and was calling her Lizzie. At first Lizzie had giggled when he used that name when they were alone. David always called her Liz.

One night they had been out for dinner in a country pub not far from Swanmore, he had kissed her as they walked back to his car. Her response was so gentle Finlay had melted right there. Once they were belted up he had asked her if she would like a night cap at his cottage before he took her back to the hotel. Speechless for a moment Lizzie had nodded. He hadn’t taken her back to the hotel that night, he had taken her to his queen sized bed instead. The following night he had stayed with Lizzie at the hotel. From the next month Lizzie had not gone back to the hotel but stayed at Fin’s place for those glorious five nights each time she was down from the big smoke.

Finlay stamps his feet as he surveys the bleak scene, he was so far up here, that he couldn’t hear the sound of the train as it rattled along, or the vehicles as they rushed along the motorway that snaked past Port Solent with its expensive flats and boats moored up along the jetty. Past Hilsea and Cosham then along the edge of Farlington and out past the still waters of Langstone harbour until it was out of sight.

He had lain awake for ages this morning watching the soft curve of Lizzie’s breast as she breathed, still in her haven of sleep. Softly he had blow on a shiny brown curl framing her sweet face. How he had loved waking next to this lovely woman for five glorious mornings each month. He was going to miss her more than he could allow himself to admit, well he had admitted it to himself but never to his Lizzie. Cody would miss her too. But Fin was only too well aware that as much as Lizzie loved him she loved David and their boys more. Once David had met Lizzie from Dunstable in 3 ½ hours she would become Mrs Liz Robinson, never again to be his sweet Lizzie.

All these months of sitting across from her at management meetings, quietly admiring her professionalism, whilst at the same time visualising her as she had dressed that morning in her silk and lace undies now covered by her smart business suit. All those months of sweaty bodies gliding together as they made love in his huge comfortable bed or on the living room rug, once even on the dinning table amongst the debris of their meal. The showers they had taken soaping each other sliding together under the hot cascade of water. The evening walks holding hands as Cody raced ahead across the fields after some imagined friend. The meals shared making a welcome change to the lonely meals eaten when she wasn’t here.

Fin’s heart misses a beat as the train comes into view. He has done his homework found out when the train would reach Portchester so that he could drop Lizzie off at Fareham station early enough to give him time to get up here to this view point. Binoculars at the ready Fin searches the carriages for that last glimpse of his love as she travels away from him for the last time. For two years he had stood on the platform with her until that very last minute when he had to let her go as the train was about to leave. Not wanting to lose a precious second of her nearness, the waft of her perfume, the scent of her freshly shampooed hair. He would miss the smell of raspberries in his bathroom. Vanilla body spray in the bedroom. He had taken to lighting vanilla candles when she was not there. Maybe he would have to stop this practice but not yet, he would continue with the candles for a while longer. Perhaps this would not be a healthy practice but then neither was falling in love with a married woman.

He had watched her with sadness in his eyes, reflecting back at him from her own sad eyes, as she had pulled on her frothy lace high legs and matching bra. Rolling first one then the other of her sleek tan hold ups over her feet, knees then enveloping her pale thighs, before stepping into her smart chocolate brown skirt, that fell in soft folds down to her mid calf. Slowly buttoning her cream silk blouse that felt so sensuous to the touch of his fingers, before donning the soft brown jacket that made her outfit complete. He had watched her applying her make up whilst her skin was still wrapped in the softness of her pale pink fleece robe. Dark brown mascara and eye liner making her almond shaped eyes appear even more sexy than when they are naked of all that goo. The bronze of her eye shadow matching the hint of blusher on her cheeks. The whole effect would later be completed with a touch of chocolate brown lipstick. Lizzie was always so careful to ensure her makeup matched her clothes. All that was left was for her to step into her brown suede shoes with those 3 “heels that made her looks so much taller than her 5’2” of pure woman.

For the first time ever Fin had lied to her, he felt sorry for that, in a way he felt guilt for deceiving her, but this time he couldn’t bear to stand on the platform with her as she waited to be carried back to London then onwards to Dunstable and home with Him. Before he had always known that in a few weeks she would be back here. She would be his Lizzie again. But this time was different. This time he told her he had an important appointment that he couldn’t miss. He was sorry but it meant he couldn’t be there with her, he had time to drop her at the station door, he kissed her goodbye, retrieved her cases from the boot of his car then drove off with a quick wave of the hand, before she could see the tears in his eyes. It had seemed to him as he drove across town that everything was against him. The flow of traffic at each roundabout slowed him down, the traffic lights seemed to take for ever to change then he was stuck at road works as he crossed the hill to his chosen view point. But he had made it with a couple of minutes to spare. But the train must have been late as he felt he had been stood here waiting for hours not 3 minutes. The chill air was making him shiver now.

Fin watches as the train swings out of view taking Lizzie out of his life forever. With a heavy heart he turns and makes his way back to his car, sitting there for an age before he feels strong enough to reverse her out of the parking bay and make his way along the country lanes back to his empty cottage where Cody would be waiting for him.