On the Train


I’m sitting on a train. The 15:51 southeastern service to London Charring Cross, calling at High Brooms, Tonbridge, Hildenborough, Sevenoaks, Orpington, London Bridge, London Waterloo East and London Charring Cross. I used to work at a cafe on Tonbridge station, it was a rather rubbish job, crap hours, low pay, irritable customers, pervert of a boss… The usual, and not the worst by far. One thing that did get drilled into my head was the destinations of all if the trains that came through, read by a machine over the tannoy system.
Sat in the eighth carriage from the front leaving the station and I realise that I’ve sat at the wrong end of the train, I’m at the end that’s the furthest from my destinations exit. Can I bothered to make my way up the train so as to save the time and distance once I disembark? No. I find myself quite well settled where I am, munching on a steak slice that I bought from Morrisons before getting my ticket. I have to pause every few seconds to wipe my nose. Before I left, I had a half decent tidy of my bedroom which kicked up a ridiculous amount of dust which has now caused my nose to do an impression of a leaky tap. Whilst in the shop I looked for tablets to induce congestion, to stop the drip, but all of those on offer either relieved congestion, cleared your nose or helped to reduce mucus. In the end I settled for one that simply claimed to reduce the signs of flu or cold symptoms. I also bought some travel tissues, just in case the tablets failed.
Having now departed Sevenoaks heading straight for London Bridge, I take time to gaze out of the window at the sky which is mostly overcast, all except for the view to the east where I can glimpse pinkish-red clouds, the reflection of what is probably a beautiful sunset, only to be witnessed if you happen to be on an aeroplane, flying high above the clouds peaks.
Fields of heather and lavender pass me by, each reminding me of my grandmothers, heather for my Grandma (dad’s mum) as it’s her name an lavender for my Granny (mum’s mum) as her house was always awash with it when I was just a child, it’s a shame I can’t stand the smell of the latter. Thinking of either grandmother brings the memories of my grandfathers, both who passed away many years ago, and of the differences that existed in the homes and lives of my grandparents when they were still pairs.
Moving on from Orpington, the sky is darkening and there’s a cool breeze on my legs which are not nearly protected enough in the the only pair of skinny jeans I own (they have beautiful beaded patterns on them) which I only chose to wear because the last time I tried them on they were too tight and are now too big (makes me happy). Music is playing on my headphones which I barely notice because I am too concentrated on writing. I pause to listen to what’s currently playing.
Mr Postman by Bewitched, a guilty pleasure song, that talks about waiting to hear from a loved one, to discover whether they are safe, that rests on someone completely impartial and who has no connection other than the ability to deliver a piece of paper. It ends happily. As most stories do. About 90% of the time anyway.
Now comes on music called hallucination, the precursor to David Bowie’s As the World Falls Down, to which I must take the music player off of shuffle so that they can play in order and I can remember my favourite dream that features the only person that I’ve even come close to falling on love with. I haven’t seen him in about five years, and yet he’s constantly present in my dreams these days. As I gaze at Canary Wharf, that time will help me forget and eventually new love will erase him. The top-most light flashes clearly in the dusk and on the opposite side of the sky I can see the last of the sunlight shining through, silhouetting a thin, dark strip of low cloud.
Buildings to either side of me are growing higher, I haven’t glimpsed any green for ten minutes or so. As well as the variety of buildings, many cranes stand out against the rapidly darkening grey of the sky. Pulling into London Bridge, the area is illuminated in an orange glow which emanates from the lamps that occupy the platform, the Shard stands in darkness, various building apparatus hanging from it an covering both the insides and out.
Only a few minutes now until we arrive at London Charring Cross where I’ll change to the underground and work my way up the Bakerloo Line to Harlseden and a hot, delicious meal waiting for me with my aunty Christine (who’s actually my mum’s cousin but its always been easier to just say aunt).
Now comes the time I regret getting on the wrong end of time and walk the eight carriage length of the platform to the gates that lead me on the remained of my journey.


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