Coffee, Tea? Or me?

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And I ride alongside you

And I rode alongside you then

And I rode alongside ’till you lost me there in the open road.

And I’m so sad

Like a good book

I can’t put this day back

A sorta fairytale with you.

James walked out of the arrival gate on the ground floor of London Heathrow airport, it was an early Sunday morning and only a few people were lurking around the terminal.

He pushed his black baseball hat down on his face, out of habit, and confidently made for the exit.

When the sliding doors opened he stopped in his track.

“Lucy,” he said surprised.

She looked at him for what felt like a lifetime.

“I’ll call you back,” she said to the phone.

She was in her uniform, her golden cravat made her now a cabin manager, her hair pulled back in a neat bun.

“James,” she said and a smile didn’t fail to appear on her lips.

“You look great!” Both said at the same time.

They paused and laughed.

“Coming or going?” James asked.

“Office duties today...” she replied.

They were both silent for a moment.

James glanced around the half-deserted terminal.

“Do you have time for a coffee?”

“Yeah,” she said honestly. “A coffee would be nice.”

They took a seat in the small Costa cafe where only two other flight attendants were queuing.

Lucy took their orders and went back to the table, taking a seat across him.

“So, how are you, James?” She asked scanning his eyes with her usual intensity.

He shrugged.

“Usual. Busy...” he looked at her slightly concerned face. “But I’m good, Lucy. I’m great. What about you?”

Lucy sighed.

“I can’t complain, I’ve been busy too.”

She played with the sleeve of her paper cup.

James looked at her hand where a turquoise ring shone under the artificial light.

Lucy followed his gaze and automatically retracted her hand.

“It’s just a promise ring. I like the colour mostly...” she found herself justify.

James nodded and produced a kind smile.

“It’s a lovely ring. I’m happy for you.”

Neither of them spoke for a moment, focused on their steamy coffee.

“You know? I actually thought about you the other day...” said Lucy with a wistful smile.

“Oh really?”

She nodded as she swallowed her drink.

“I was reorganising my room and as I took this book, a cinema ticket fell off it. Back to the future.”

She didn’t need to add anything else, they both remember their second date, their first kiss.

James blushed a little.

“Glad it was one of the good memories...” he said scratching the back of his head.

Lucy chuckled softly.

“How’s Harriet?” He asked, looking for any reasons to keep talking.

“She’s great! Busy with a new house but hanging in there...Thanks for asking!” She smiled as her hand moved across the table and covered James’.

James flinched at her touch but didn’t move, letting her electricity burn through his flesh. They shared a look that spoke a thousand unsaid, misunderstood, overly shouted words. It screamed the love they once had had for each other, the love that had healed their once broken souls and the loved that they had lost.

Lucy felt a knot in her throat and a sudden sadness she hadn’t felt since the day she had left.

She slowly retracted her hand.

James’ eyes were still on her face, a silence pleading to not let go but that look crossed his face too quickly for either of them to notice.

Lucy eventually smiled.

“It was so lovely seeing you, James.”

He cleared his throat and his lips also curved.

“Yes, an absolute pleasure.”

Lucy checked her watch.

“I better be going now...”

James gathered his belongings and they walked outside the little cafe.

They looked at each other for a moment, unsure of what to do then Lucy pulled him close for a hug, his familiar scent gave her a sense of reassurance.

“Take care...” she said.

“Be safe,” he told her.

They lingered there for another brief moment and then they parted ways.

A few steps from the exit James turned around, feeling the need to take a final look at the woman that had changed his life, that he had called his wife and had loved so deeply.

When he looked up Lucy was standing in the open lift looking back at him. She smiled, her grin like a riddle.

He held his hand up, and she did the same.

“Bye, James,” she mouthed.

And the doors closed.

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