He sat on the cold railway platform, the hands on the clock seeming to be almost unmoving. Winds picked up some paper and blow it past his feet. He watched it grateful that their eyes did not have to meet. It had been just twenty-four hours since first they had held hands, since first they had met, and now in just a few minutes time, the dream would be over and once more reality would come into their lives.

He felt her hand tremble in his, and knew she was fighting back the tears that threatened to cover her so beautiful eyes. They both knew that the train would be there soon, and he would have to leave her.

It had seemed such a wonderful idea, the idea for him to travel and meet her, memory from his childhood. A memory whom he had not seen for so many years, yet had often appeared in the his tumbled memories. A face which had flicked across his dreams when times had been dark. "There had been enough of those" he thought. She had been just a memory until he had seen her name among the members on the Internet "Old Scholars" list. A name that had brought those memories to the surface again and with the name an email address.

He had emailed her and was very pleased when she responded, seemingly remembering him. That had been the start of their relationship, the start of what had led them to be here now on the cold, empty platform.

That had been over a year ago now. He placed his arm round her without thinking, as he had done from the very first moment they had met. She seemed to fit into his arms as if they were made for her. She snuggled against him, shivering either from the cold or the pain that they both felt in their hearts.

They had started out by sending emails, catching up on old times and remembering events and friends, letting each other know what had happened in their lives. Their emails soon became online messaging, and often they had chatted into the night. Learning about each other, sharing their thoughts and dreams as their love blossomed on the Internet.

He told her about his life, the pain of his divorce, the devastation and the total feeling of helplessness that had covered him. She seemed to understand, indeed her own life had been no "bed of roses". Slowly, without them realizing what was going on, each unsure of the others feelings and scared to show their own, they grew together. Several times he wanted to let her know how he felt, how across the miles that kept them apart his heart was telling him this was something special, that he was falling in love with her.

Sometimes he started to tell her and then stopped, scared of losing what he had, scared that if he revealed his true feeling he would lose her completely. He had felt something from her on a few occasions, the odd comment, or message, the reply that was too quick as if covering something up. They had spoken a few times on the phone, the 500 miles that kept them apart seeming nothing to their hearts when the words, once typed, were spoken to each other.

Then one day just as they were saying goodbye, she had messaged him.

"You know I love you Dave?"

It was totally out of the blue, and before he could reply, she had gone.

He tried to call her on the phone but he could not get through; tried to message her again, but she was no longer online.

She loved him. She loved him. The words beat through his heart like a drum.

The next thing he could remember doing was throwing some clothes into a small bag and getting a taxi to the railway station. Five hundred miles was a long journey; he had no time to go into sorting plane flights. He knew he had to be with her, and that the train would get him there. The journey seemed to take forever, and he never quite got to the point of why he was actually on the train and making the trip. All he knew was that his heart told him it was the right thing to do. He only had the weekend, before he would have to be back at work, and by the time he got to her it would be just twenty-four hours before he would have to return.

He arrived at the train station as the evening sun started to melt into the night's sky, shedding a faint red glow on the numbers of the phone as he once more dialed her number when he finally made it to the station.

"Linda", he said when he heard her voice answering his call, "Linda, I love you."
He heard a gasp at the other end of the phone, and carried on.
"Linda, I know how we feel about each other and I am sure you feel the same."
"Yes," came a faint voice at the other end of the phone, "Yes, and I love you too, so very much"
His heart did a complete summersault of happiness.
"Linda, darling." he said for the first time able to show his emotions. "I am at the railway station, we have twenty-four hours together"
The line went quiet before a trembling voice replied.
"Darling Dave, oh my darling, I will be right there to pick you up"

He did not know anything until she was in his arms, which went round her as if they were on automatic pilot. Their words were lost in a kiss that seemed to go on forever.

That was the start. The next twenty-four hours had been one of such happiness; their love glowed for all the see. Words, up to now unsaid spilled from their lips and from their hearts. Hands learned, bodies shared, and hearts became one. The time rushed by but each minute was filled with the knowledge of what they had found. This was their time, each second filled with their own special moments, laughter filled their world of love, and the knowledge that in each other they had found what was meant to be.

All too soon the twenty-four hours were over, leaving them at this junction of their lives, on the lonely cold platform.

The train came into the station, and he got to his feet, shifting the bag into the other hand, so he could hold her one last time, and kiss the lips that told him so much and showed him even more. He looked into the eyes he had come to love, and felt her hand hold his like it would never let him go. A "All aboard." from the guard filled the empty silence, but he did not move. She looked at him, puzzled, eyes filled with tears, ready to burst forth as he climbed onto the train. His feet would not move; the message from his brain never getting passed his heart.

The train started to slowly leave the station, her hand gripped his even harder.
"Dave," she said "Dave, I don't understand!"
He smiled; all had become clear in the last few seconds of their twenty-four hours.
"Linda," he said, "That train was to take me home, but I realize that with you I am already home. You are my home, my life, my love, and where I need to be"

With that, the dam that had held her emotions in check burst. Tears streamed doen Linda's face. this time though not with pain, but with pure joy. The twenty-four hours were over, but from that day, every twenty-four hours would be theirs to share.

Barry Eva 2004