• emkate_utter

Day Six: Suitcase

She scanned the platform, first left, then right, then left again. Any moment now a train would pull in from the south and there would be a rush of uniform-clad bodies clamouring to board. Young men, mostly, heading to Lossiemouth for their training. Some of them eventually going further - to Orkney, to man the causeways and protect Britain by sea.

On the opposite platform, the same chaos, another train coming from the south, for the men who would be leaving Scotland and heading to Aldershot, London, and the coast, She suspected that platform would be rowdier somehow, filled with a sense of adventure, of going someplace else.

The men on her side though - she thought they might be the lucky ones. North certainly felt safer. That was the whole point, wasn't it?

She gripped the handle of her suitcase tighter. She could feel it creasing her fingers. Inside were all the things she could not live without. A photo of her parents and her brothers. Her notebook. The lavender cardigan her gran had knitted her. Her sheet music. She wasn’t sure if there would be a piano where she was going - she suspected not - but it was worth a try.

She ran through the list she’d made in her head of all the steps she was to take.

Leave the house before anyone is awake. Dress for the weather.

1. Be at the platform well before the arrival of the 8 a.m. train heading north to Inverness.

2. Purchase two tickets.

3. Do not speak to anyone on the way who might be able to share her direction of travel.

4. Wait.