Crumpets is a short story by Abbie Walden. Abbie is a reader, writer and illustrator dabbling in romantic fiction and blog posts. She hopes to develop her writing portfolio and tap back into her creativity.
‘Blustery winds’ it reads. Great. Leaving the house, half-eaten butter-saturated crumpet in hand. I quickly realise this is, unfortunately, an incredibly accurate forecast. The air ferociously tugs at the umbrella, I laugh maniacally. A passing windswept stranger experiencing a similar battering, laughs just as I do. We exchange a mutual ‘we’ve got this’ glance; we’ve already lost control… it’s 7:00am.
By 9:00am, crumpet long ago inhaled, ticket inspected, seat taken. The glistening eyes of a handsome stranger have already met mine. No way. These kind eyes couldn’t possibly belong to the very same stranger I encountered earlier this morning. He smirks awkwardly and looks away. Almost in sync, we both begin rhythmically tapping our feet, an ’80s melody blaring from my headphones. I wonder what he’s listening to? The Beach Boys? His long blonde curls suggest as much. (I later conclude that if this particular scene were ever to be recreated for a romantic chick flick, it would be played in slow motion. Potentially in black and white? Fingers crossed ‘Wouldn’t it be Nice’ would be dubbed over the top).
In unison our heads turn towards the door, a young vibrant couple entangled around one another. Beaming, like a pair of Cheshire cats; completely and utterly engrossed in each other. Their happiness radiates through the carriage. The world could end, they wouldn’t notice.
I look back at him.
He looks back at me.
That was five years ago. Today, he takes the last bite of my crumpet as he leaves, and I tell him that because of this I WILL be filing for a divorce. He smirks at me as he does every morning.
It’s always there: fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends… strangers! As Hugh Grant tells us at Christmas, ‘Love actually IS all around’.