What´s wrong with men?
Chapter one: James and Julia
It was the third time she checked her telephone in the last fifteen minutes. Not a sign of him, not a missed call or a text message or a stupid picture of the pub in Barcelona where he was supposed to be closing a deal with that Spanish producer, and she had phoned four times, left two messages in his answering machine and sent him about seven texts today. What was wrong with men?
Maybe she was just overreacting. Who wouldn´t overreact anyway? After eight months of living together James had to fly in a rush, meet this random guy with a rather Italian surname, and left her on her own, panicking about the quite certain possibility of being pregnant.
As it happened, she was not. What she was indeed was in a train to London, surrounded by strangers and bored. No music to listen to, as she had forgotten her mp3 player at home, and no book she felt like reading; just her own thoughts, a mobile phone with an almost flat battery and two hours of train-journey. Now it was easy to feel pity for herself. A young couple sitting just across the corridor, whispered words of love into each other´s ears, gently an accidentally rubbing the very sensitive skin with their lips as they spoke. Not many other people shared the coach with her, just the two rather annoying lovebirds, an old lady dressed in an old-new fashion tweed skirt and a delicate white jumper and a real wanker. It was just the right time to sit down and think about the past.
So as the train left Chesterfield behind, Julia closed her eyes and tried to project the movie of her last year, from the moment she met James till this very second, in which she had very little doubts, she was about to be dumped.
“Ladies and gentleman, in a few minutes we will be arriving to London St Pancras, where this train terminates. Please take a moment to make sure you take all your personal belongings with you. In the name of our company we would like to thank you for traveling with us today. Next station: London St Pancras”
Julia woke up. She hadn´t had too much of a consideration on her current situation, although she remembered dreaming about grapes and a tall man with, definitely, outlandish manners. At some point of the journey more than thirty people had joined the train and now the lot of them were rushing pass her, dragging bags and coats, banging on her knees and shoulders. Little by little, like a marble slowing down on carpeted floor, the train stopped at the station. She checked her phone again. Still no news from her former boyfriend. Well, that was it. She would wait for every single person to leave the coach, she would take a really deep breath and then, just then, she would step into the platform herself. Off she went.
-Excuse me- said the main in the purple top hat- I don´t have all day, you know?
-Oh, I do apologize. I didn´t realize I was keeping you behind sche… -she couldn´t finish the sentence; the harsh voice that had just rushed her belonged not to any of the staff members of the train company, but to a six feet tall, about twenty-five years old Jamaican boy, in a purple top hat and a gray suit. No tie, black boots.
-Well, that´s very good –he replied with a hint of a mischievous smile as she moved over to the door and off the train.
The man in the purple hat strode down the station, towards the mechanical stairs, not giving her a second look at all. He certainly seemed to be in a hurry but, anyway, do not all Londoners look like being in a hurry? Those were her thoughts as she stood still, buttoning up her coat in the breeze of the non-finished station, watching that stranger disappear in the horizon, down to the lower level as one of Colon´s caravels, sinking down into the Atlantic, falling at the End of the World.
And then she was alone, alone in the middle of London. It should be a dream, and yet it wasn´t. It was real and she was there, by herself, standing in between platforms one and two, exactly in the middle point.
-A little step to the left –whispered a feminine voice at her ear, soft, gentle but still assertive.- To your left, girl. I don´t have all day, you know?
She knew she was having one of those days, nobody could prove otherwise, but this was just a little bit too awkward. Nonetheless she did what she was told. Slowly, she dragged herself a little bit to the left, barely managing to stay upright as the usual madness of the station kicked back in.
-Thank you –said a tiny fragile woman with long silver hair.
-You are welcome- Julia replied, not really meaning it, just out of general politeness. And there she went, down to the street. As a matter of fact, Julia wondered why she imagined the petite lady following that weird guy in the top hat. Yet she did so, and it seemed to make sense on so many levels!