I wrote this story a while ago and I have been saving it for when I wanted to post but wanted to be lazy! So after 5 nights out in a row I am too tired to have an original idea and the Christmas Cards are not going to write themselves so I thought I would use it now.
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Her foot was on the platform before the doors were even fully open. She self conciously half ran, half walked to the end, knowing that she must look ridiculous to the hundreds of people that were getting off the train after her. The different screens skipped past her eye line, as she tried to find the train that she needed to get on. Her heart raced slightly, a combination of the unfamiliaraty of the situation mixed with the knowledge that she only had a couple of minutes to get on the train before it would pull out of the station leaving her in the chill cold of the early evening.
She found the train and against her better nature headed further up the platform, knowing that it would save her time at her stop if she could just make it to the last carriage. As the other travellers peeled off one by one into the closer carriages she indulged in a brief daydream where she alone was the only person brave enough to temp fate and make it to the far carriage. Her resolve faltered and she took the first door of the last carriage, instead of the second one that she really wanted. She knew she was now close enough. She dismissed the idea that she could walk between the seats for the rest of the carriage as soon as it came to her, knowing she would be afraid of the other passengers thinking she was rude pushing through.
As she hopped across the gap and onto the train she looked for a seat and immediately decided against it, knowing that she would be back on her feet in minutes of leaving, her stop only 5 minutes away. As the relative quiet of the carriage nudged out the mix of noises on the station she could suddenly hear the music coming from her ipod again, Ani DiFranco adding a strange surreality to the scene before her. She settled next to the door and let her gaze roam freely over the people that she was sharing the carriage with. Speculations about their lives, why they were there, where they were going started to creep into her mind and she let her imagination roam unchecked.
The suited and booted man sat a few seats away, wearing nice glasses, reading a tabloid paper. She realised that she would have a completely different opinion of him if he had been reading some other paper. Now all she could imagine was that he was a pushy young high flyer who at weekends would prowl the clubs with a bunch of like minded friends, flashing their cash and leering at women. He had a preocupied look on his face which she speculated was due to his worring about the fact that his trendy spiky hair cut was thinning on top.
The tired looking 30 something in a big coat which denied her the chance of guessing more about him from his clothes. He sat back with his eyes closed. Fresh from a long shift in a dull job she decided, suddenly feeling sorry for him.
The young girl who was taking up an entire seat with her carrier bags, implying a great afternoon of shopping. She watched as she pulled purchase after purchase from her bag, showing the guy in the seat opposite. She wondered whether he was her boyfriend, and wished she could see his eyes to tell if he was as interested as he was making out. A shock realisation came when she realised that the girl had a roll of Christmas wrapping paper sticking out of one of the bags. Christmas shopping in mid October just seemed like madness to her. The girl had short nails, painted irredecent baby pink, which seemed completely out of place against her choice of clothing, boots, jeans and what looked like a guy’s jumper.
The old guy, past his prime, chubby with bifocal glasses which made his face distort. She smiled at that. She wondered if he had a wife at home. If he did were they still in love? Would he get home and kiss her and think of the day he met her or would he be going home to an empty house and a meal for one eaten in front of the tv?
A glance out of the window made her realise that hse was finally at her destination and she wished that the creeping train would stop quickly. She was suddenly aware of a raised voice and she looked around expectantly before realising that it was coming from the music that she listened to, Ani DiFranco’s powerful voice suddenly soaring over everything. The door was open and she was out of the train, into the October night. As one the passengers moved through the gate and down the path. She walked carefully, knowing from experience that wet pavements mixed with the fallen leaves this time of year could be treacherous.
She was suddenly aware of the guy walking next to her, and wanting to get a better look at him she played a trick she had played before, suddenly moving her head to look at him, resting her gaze slightly behind his head in the distance. On cue he turned to her to see why her head had moved so quicky. As he then turned his head to look where she was looking she sneaked a look at his face. Not impressed and not disappointed she concentrated on crossing the toad and making her way through the park. Glancing up she saw it was getting darker due to threatening clouds hanging heavily overhead. Quickening her step she turned the corner and arrived at her door. The key turned in the lock and she made her way up the stairs. At the top she waited for the track she was listening to to finish before removing her headphones. With a start she realised that the clouds had broken and the rain was coming down so heavily you could hear it driving onto the kitchen roof. She allowed herself a small smile, smug that she had beaten the weather this evening.