I remember waiting for a train. No particular train, just one that would take me away. This story covers, at least at first, 20 minutes of my life, and let’s face it, that’s all that was left at that point. I’ve always thought of train stations as a sort of no-man’s land, a commuters purgatory, neither here nor there- just waiting.
There were a few standing there that day.
There was a young man, probably a student, in a plum hoody. He had bags under his black-grey eyes, tired from late night study, or more likely, late night drink. Then there was a washed-out woman, who was clearly on some sort of narcotic. She had burnt brown eyes, long greying chestnut hair and bare feet which were callus and cold. She was wearing an ankle-length floral dress with a frayed hem, a cheap rubbery watch that had stopped on 2 o’clock and some faded wooden, multicoloured beads around her neck. She looked like a hippy or hadn’t been told the sixties were over.
The only other person on the platform was a young woman. She was the personification of isolation, stood away from the others, her wide primal-like eyes glaring out at some non-existent enemy. The ancient romans said that the eyes were the gateway to the soul, looking at her I could understand why. I only remember her glare and her eyes.
Then there was me. If you had been there, you would have seen a young man with sharp, crisp blue eyes, eyes at contrast with the dull day. You would have seen my scruffy brown hair and the jeans and wearily witty t-shirt that I always wore.
At that moment, I was stood against the wall of the station with the withered hippy and the student to my right and the isolated girl to my left.
I could hear the train before anyone else, it imminent arrival signalling my imminent departure. A few seconds later, with the train now becoming visible, the 3 strangers,stragglers really, each teetering the edge of their own realities and whom I was stood by, each stepped forward anticipating the train’s arrival.
The young woman stepped forward further than the rest, her heels off the ground and the toes of her worn, once white trainers touching the faded, chipped yellow paint spelling out the barely readable words “MIND THE GAP”. The look in her eyes indicated that she liked to tempt death, but who would rather that death not succumb to such temptations. Unfortunately for her, death would not resist the apple she had so kindly place before him or her that day (for death could so easily be a woman, in fact I strongly suspect it).
Time slows down near the edge of a black hole, a dying stars way of forgoing inevitable oblivion. So it was, in a similar manner, that as the train, which was coming in from the left faster than it should have been, the would-be temptress of death slipped near the edge of the station and as she was falling back ward in a twisted awkward pose, straight into the path of a speeding train- everything stopped…