‘Excuse me, sir? Sir, can you wake up please?’
‘Sir? Excuse me?’
Bump. Clap. Okay I’m up.
‘Ahh hello sir, nice of you to join us. May I see your ticket please?’
‘Erm, yes, yes here it is.’
‘Thank you sir.’
‘How’s your evening been then? Waking, checking, waking, checking? That kind of thing?’
‘Somewhat like that, sir.’
Wow this has guy has a commitment to the role. All I was looking for was some neat, quick-fire conversation, a story perhaps? Nope- nada.
The buildings we pass by seem more modern now, we must be nearing the city. There’s a bright glow up ahead of in the direction we’re going; we’re near.
‘All in order chief?’
‘Yes sir, all good. Have a nice evening.’
‘You too pal, take care of yourself.’
I like’d him, he did stay true to character as I said but he did it with a humble nature which is rare these days and I at least, even if I’m on my own with this, respect that- so I did mean it when I told him to take care you see. He carried on his route down the carriage and I see we’re not far from central so I get up and go to the opposite end of said carriage to collect my pack which I left on the luggage rack.
Out the window I see it looks kind of cloudy so I take out my nice woollen jacket with the fur hood- it’s not real fur but it definitely makes me feel as though I’m protected by the warmth of some kind of wild, ever so wild, wolf which has been hardened by all the years of keeping after itself in the bitterness of the wilderness in the arctic tundra or somewhere- or I imagine it’s the fur of some bold and almighty brown bear which wanders kingly and strong through the magnificent thick expanse of Canadian woodland. Anyway, it’s a good jacket and I’ve become rather fond of it, so I and the jacket bind and become one entity in the perceptive eyes of those whom we see and encounter and already I feel like it’s going to be a good night.
The straps on my pack look kind of worn and old as if they’ve served time in some kind of jungle of sorts, but really they’re warn because I think I’ve had this pack about twelve years now? and it hasn’t failed me yet, nor have I managed to lose it so I hold onto the thing as it’s now somewhat sentimental.
I swing it round and onto my back, slot my arms through both shoulder straps, wriggle about a tad so it sits nicely against my back, tighten the straps so they now don’t really wriggle but instead clutch onto my chest. I button up my jacket and slide open the window to the carriage door so the wind blows in and I can exhale my cigarette smoke out of it, but first I need to pull out the packet of cigarettes to really do this properly anyway, so I do, and select one arbitrarily so not to be unfair. I place that chosen one between my lips and hold it there while its brothers and sisters, still in their packet of course, are put back into my jacket pocket to be kept safe for later. I light the thing, and ultimately I’m soon breathing in smoke which is good as I have an addiction and I’d rather it be at least cigarette smoke than nothing at all anyway.
Ahh, the train bounces nicely along the bumps of the track, quite rhythmically now as if the guys who laid the tacks down intended the trains to ride over them in such a manner. The guy who’s employed to announce where we’re going, when we’ll get there, and if we are indeed there yet, begins announcing that we are indeed there. ‘There’ turns out to be Central, as my better instinct told me and it’s only eight forty one apparently as well which apparently is also a good thing, as we’re four minutes early, apparently.
We swing into the station, but obviously it’s a big station as it’s Central and central stations always tend to be big because they’re so central to everything, including train tracks, so they have a lot of stuff going through them. This means that although we haven’t quite stopped yet, we have begun the ‘getting really near to’ stopping process and this is indicated, as I noted, by swinging into the station- and now I can see across all of the platforms because there aren’t many trains in for some reason, which is weird because it’s Central but I suppose all of the empty platforms is still some kind of evidence that there could be lots of trains, but it’s just that we’re too early for them or something and maybe in four minutes they’ll catch up to us?
But my eyes flick across and over all of these empty platforms who have to wait for four minutes or something before their trains come in and my eye is caught really quite suddenly by one particular part of one particular platform- there’s an engineer’s office, work office, where they would go to not work but make coffee and eat biscuits, but what they did was beside the point really as I only wanted to note that there was the office there and that’s why I remember the point as it’s by that office where I bode farewell to this pretty, most beautiful, girl I’ve ever had the privilege to converse with. Although that was a while ago now and I know a couple girls who really are much prettier than her but I’d never say that in public of course because I actually still know them and that would be weird, probably. Anyway this girl was radiance with the brightest smile, it would kill me. God I loved her, and God, I’m sure she probably dug the hell outta me at one point probably, and I tell you God although I don’t know why I tell you as apparently you know everything so I’m more telling myself but I’ll tell you anyway because sometimes a girl is pretty enough to talk to you about, even if you don’t exist I suppose? But we held one another so closely so we could feel the others’ heartbeat which was really just one beat because we were in love I think and clichés like that matter don’t they? And we were so close that as we paused from those final kisses you give someone when they stand before you and you don’t know when you’ll see them again, we would simply indulge in the others’ smell, which, as we’d spent the last few days in such close contact anyway was kind of the same smell, which wasn’t a cliché but more the truth and bit odd if you think of it a bit, but we had showered so- I suppose not that odd.
We would kiss passionately, really quite passionately, to the point where the engineers would probably have coffee biscuits and a show if they were there, but they weren’t- probably out committing time to laying the rhythmically positioned tracks- thankfully, although it would have been a funny addition to the memory. But we kissed passionately like out of some movie where the guy and girl say goodbye in a train station where the trains still used steam and there’s so much more noise and it’s black and white, but sadly there was still segregation between black and white during those films so I suppose they kind of represent a bad era, probably.
She got on that train and immediately began writing me a love letter about how much she dug me and hoped to see me again soon.
Sometimes letters get lost, and sometimes letters shouldn’t be sent at all. But she sent that one, the one she wrote on the train, and I sent one back and a couple more and so it went and then the letters stopped altogether and I don’t think they got lost as I got one I really wish I hadn’t which said I was different and everything was different and I didn’t love her anymore which is weird because my heart hurt so much with joy when I was opening that letter and then hurt so much with pain after I read it, and I think I can’t claim what love is, but I can claim that I was either close to it or at least she was able to make me think so- and that still hurts.
But the trains stopped! We’re here, well, I’m here and she’s there and there’s a pretty little filly from this city who I love dearly and I know I love her because I haven’t ever fallen in love with her but she is amazing and by far the most beautiful person I’ve had the joy of knowing- and now there’s telephones everywhere these days so I don’t need to worry about her sending a bad letter or thinking that I’ve changed, and anyway she’s really quite pretty and I think she’s fun at least. So with that in mind I move towards the doors before they’ve even opened but keep moving and time it ever so sweetly as I’m still moving but they’ve finally begun to open and I just glide out as easy as pie, and the risk pays off as I’m currently the only person on the platform and everyone gets off and wonders how I’m so far ahead?
So there’s a nice cold breeze as I move briskly from person to person as although I was first off I wasn’t on the first carriage so people have taken a lead, but I’m in a good flow and fly past. But we all share it and make it so- the lights and energy and this is the city and it’s smoking, she’s smoking, I’m still smoking now I come to think about it, with the cigarette still actually in my mouth as I walk over the clouds with everyone here and I try not to annoy anyone by getting in their way and tripping them up, which would be an accident and quite funny but I’d still feel bad as it would cause those clouds above us which we walk in to burst and that would put us back down on the ground and put a downer on our day I think and it’s only just night so I think that would be unfair. But the guard stands at the edge of the train looking to everyone as they go by and he’ll never see them again probably so I wish him farewell and hope he does indeed take care, in case he’s forgotten, and to seal the deal I wave and nearly bump into someone who was looking around the station for someone, and as I correct my path and stumble a bit at the cost of it he smiles at me the first ever smile he’s ever given by mistake but was still happy to do so.