My hands trembled. I gripped the table but I could not stop my body quivering. I was certain that the couple across the aisle had noticed. They kept shooting me glances and muttering but I studiously avoided eye contact.
Involuntarily my eyes kept darting, searching. Stupidly I expected him there, smiling triumphantly with thin tight lips, or striding down the carriage to grab me and drag me back.
I was sweating. A terror kept welling up in me like a great broiling ocean, rising on sickening swells.
I’d been on the train now for nearly two hours. We were approaching York. I knew he wasn’t on the train. I’d already walked from one end to the other, twice. But still……
Logic didn’t come into it. When we pulled in at York I studied the passengers getting on, expecting to see his face leering at me. My heart was bursting and my lungs pumping like I’d run a hundred metres. I must have looked a state. Why would he get on at York? I knew it was stupid. But then I was stupid. He’d told me that often enough. A stupid, prudish, silly, slut. A frigid, useless, ugly, bitch.
When the train pulled out I managed to calm down and cast a sly glance towards the couple across the aisle. They weren’t looking my way. Fortunately the train wasn’t busy I had the seats to myself.
A young man was further down the carriage. He looked nice. He had a kindly face. But were all men the same? Richard had been nice when we were courting. I’d fallen for him with his good looks and manners. He’d been a very jealous boyfriend but I’d liked that. I’d thought it showed how much he loved me. It was only after we’d married that it started going wrong. First he did not want me to work. He wanted to keep and look after me. I think I was flattered. Then he didn’t want my friends coming round. He wanted me all for himself.
As the years went by He took my phone away because I was in danger of wasting my time. Then the credit card because I was so useless with money. He gave me cash to buy the shopping and checked all the items to criticise how much I’d spent of ‘his’ money.
The worst part was the ‘Sessions’. He told me what he wanted me to do and when I balked that’s when the beatings began. Always on the body. Never on the face. It became easier to do what he wanted. The ‘Sessions’ became what I dreaded most. He hurt me. He……. I don’t want to think about it.
Did that nice young man make his wife do those things?
The inspector checked my ticket – £77.50p. He scribbled on it. I’d scrimped and saved pennies for months to buy that ticket. King’s Cross to Aberdeen. One way. Nine hours and eleven minutes away from a beginning.