He stood there among hundreds of people milling about the platform, his eyes downcast, and his tongue frozen for what to say. He had always been a person of action, someone who could take control of a situation and fix the wrongs that turn the world upside down. That was with other people’s lives, though. In his own it didn’t seem to work out for him in the same way. It always seems hard to apply your own advice to your life.

What does one say? The thought kept spinning in his mind, and no matter how hard he tried he couldn’t pin down the answer. Instead he lifted his head and examined the ongoings around him. Standing close to him was a young woman, wearing a very tasteful brocade dress, she was holding the hands of her parents and looking at them with a large smile on her lips. Judging by her age, and the bags she had packed, she was leaving for university. She would spend the next few years of her life chasing her dreams. She would face disappointments, he knew, but she would also find herself in those years and become an adult. He hoped she understood how meaningful those years would be, and how important it was that she followed through. He wanted to tell her, but how strange would that be?

Instead, he changed his focus to the young man standing off to his left. He wore a military uniform, a duffel bag sat at his feet, which were tapping in a nervous and antsy fashion. His feet were the only thing about him that showed any emotion, his face was stern, his eyes locked at the train door ahead of him, as if expecting that when the doors opened his enemy would come rushing out of them. He was alone, there was no one there to wish him luck, pat him on the back or grip his shoulder. The young man in uniform was headed into a world where he may not return, where death could be the only thing he has to look upon.

He stopped looking at the man in uniform, and instead turned his head straight, looking in front of him. She stood there, her eyes downcast in the same manner his had been before he looked around. No one ever really knows what to say in times like this, and he was sure she was in the same predicament as he. Not knowing what else to do, he brushed his hand across her face, back across her hair. She flinched, not because she was surprised by his action, but by the familiar sting that shot to her heart. It was the same for him, he felt it travelling through his hand, down his arm, and straight to his chest. A pang of regret lingered, caused his heart to lurch at an unsteady beat up and down, faster then slower.

As he looked at her, steam began to creep onto the platform, a fog made visible by the cool winter air about them. It became harder to see her as the gray tendrils curled about her body, climbing up to her face. The fog was taking her away from him, both literally and figuratively. It signified that the train was prepared to get underway and soon the passengers would start boarding. He saw the fog as a thief, it was wrapping her up and taking her away, to a place he would not be, and she would not return to him from. He knew it was for the best, they had had the conversations. Nights filled with impassioned shouting and heart breaking door slams, nights spent alone.

He watched her as she silently knelt and wrapped her hands around the handles of her bags. She stood, and he noticed there were no tears in her eyes, just a firm look of resolve. She was determined, and there was nothing that could be done to stop her. He held back his own tears, clenching them within his soul, locking them inside himself instead of letting them flow. She wasn’t crying, so he wouldn’t either. She opened her mouth as if to say something, but instead, closed it, and simply turned on her heel and walked aboard the train, as the doors had just opened.

His heart screamed for him to stop her, but his hands clenched in his pockets, and his mind argued that it would be futile. He watched her climb the steps, she didn’t look back. She rounded the corner on the train and she was gone. Minutes later the engine began to churn, the wheels groaned and began to move and before long the train was gone. He hadn’t realized the platform was empty, everyone had left, and it was just him standing on that empty platform, lingering bits of steam and fog twining around his legs and about his shoes.

Before too much longer, the sun had gone down, and the glow of electric lamps began to light the small, isolated spot on the station platform where he stood. He wasn’t aware that night had fallen, just as he wasn’t aware of the train having left. He stood, fighting with his inner emotions, until the chill of the night crept into his chest and he had to wrap his coat around him tightly. Finally, he looked up, noticed his surroundings, and let out a slight sigh. He knew he must leave, and that the next step he took would be the first in a life without her. He looked at the spot where the train door had taken her, and he whispered.