I saw a girl on the Underground travelling with the man she’s in love with and the girl he likes. They were Italian. Crisp faces. Hers, naturally, a little long and sad; the other girl’s, naturally, coquettish and confident. He had a lovely outlook, solid stance, good beard, and kind expression; compared to them he was tall, he stood unselfconsciously, his feet well planted. Oh, how she loved him and craved for his attention, his acknowledgement. The other girl was wearing a cute mini. On the platform the girl who loved him poked him as if playfully, but he barely saw her; the other girl made a lot of play with the straps of her little backpack. My girl couldn’t help herself, she went close to him and buried her face in his chest, pretending she was joking, but really soaking up some of his smell and his heartbeat, his masculine solidity, his illicit love that would never be her own. Your heart would have ached to see her. She followed him onto the train like a little sister, dragging her feet. The two girls were, purportedly, friends and she had to pretend to be interested in what the winning girl was saying, which seemed endless; the loser girl was lacklustre, she’d lost confidence, she could see the headlights of disaster barreling right down the tunnel towards her. They leaned on opposite sides of the carriage, the man, the two girls, and you could see he had forgotten they were travelling in a trio. She peeled his heart open with her yearning eyes. She longed for him and gazed and gazed. And longing does no good at all. I could have told her that, if she’d asked me; I thought of saying so. But she wouldn’t have believed it, we never do, just as he couldn’t see the love standing in front of him, yearning for every morsel of his blessed being.