The One Who Got Away

Sometimes they get away, but just once in a lifetime you get something back. I did.

It was after a not very accidental meeting at a coffee machine, way back in the autumn of 1987, that he got away.

I told him I loved him, and he told me he was very married and that there wasn’t room for me in his life. I suspect I would have run a mile if he’d said anything different!

We were but passing acquaintances, me admiring him from afar and him probably hardly aware of my existence, let alone feelings for him. But it wasn’t just a crush on my part, I really did love him, or at least thought I did.

Twelve months later we started getting a bit closer when we found ourselves commuting to London on the same train each morning. OK, it was rather more by design on my part than pure coincidence, but over time we became travelling companions. It always caused me a frisson of excitement to be near him, to be in his presence. But to him I was just a travelling companion.

Twenty odd years have passed now and we’re firm friends. His wife has accepted me as a somewhat unusual friend, obviously fully aware of my original interest. You could say we have a common interest: him. I think she rather likes having a special friend who she can gently tease for loving her husband. And I love every minute, I really do.

And then, six weeks ago, on a landmark birthday for me he said a couple of innocent words to me that meant so much, he acknowledged in a subtle way (directness is not his style) that he understands how much he means to me, that he was happy that I was happy that day.

I nearly kissed him. But that wouldn’t do at all … unfortunately.

PS: He took the picture, that’s his finger over my camera lens!

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