The cheap flights having all been booked I opted for a sleeper on the night train. The rattle and shake through the suburbs had me relaxed before dusk. As the sun set through my window I prepared for dinner, with visions of grand train journeys—lives changed on chance meetings. Not that I anticipated anything more than soggy peas, tepid roast and gravy from a packet. But that didn’t stop me indulging in the romance.

The confident steps I took in my heels as I strode to dinner defied the rock of the carriages. I was casually spectacular in a vaguely 1950s way.

A gruff woman in a crumpled uniform directed me to a seat opposite a man with bad teeth. ‘Clarence Atkinson,’ he said with a weak smile and a weaker hand. I imagined Carey Grant. It wasn’t hard. No socially inept filing clerk was going to ruin my illusion.

My conversation, in spite of Mr Atkinson, was witty and my demeanour, throughout the meal, impeccable.

The evening having been thoroughly delightful I was in a ebullient mood as I sorted out the bunk bed mechanism an hour later. One last night alone. In the morning I’d be with you again.

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