Sitting at the train platform,
You’ve been there a while, waiting on
your two-way route to your mundane
and everyday location, just as
you do every day. With your mind on
Other things. Less than looking forward to the
nine hours of screen-staring, paper shuffling,
staring at the brunette you are too cowardly
to ask out for coffee. But today could be
the day for it. You take a peek at your
Watch. Then look towards the clock,
Unable to believe it’s been only two
minutes since you last looked. And yet
there are more people crowded around
you than you’ve seen so far today.
Businessmen in ties, shoes polished and
hair smoothed to perfection, giving the
sad impression they practice this every
single day, a faint belief that this is the day
their boss will recognise their achievements.
A cluster of young women, up early for a
day trip, mascara smudged over remnants
of sleep in the corners of their eyes. They
do their best to laugh despite having not seen
each other for months, though they promised to.
Train station labourers, brooms welded to their
hands, sweeping up the memories of yesterday’s
traingoers. Cigarette butts from under the
benches, a discarded aluminium can, and perhaps
a smudged napkin, all to earn their wages.
The newly-muddied shoes of a to-be-teen,
standing just far away from his mother to have
autonomy in this new place. Hair spiked to
a rebellious extent, ignoring his mother’s command
to step away from the yellow threshold.
And one man closer to the threshold than he,
his hands empty and clenched slightly, you
notice the solid way he holds himself, as if
ice has crept into his skin and frozen him in
place, a human-coloured statue on the platform.
Sitting at the train platform,
You once again check your watch,
Seeing that steady rhythm of the second
hand slicing your life away, one fragment at
a time. But you still have the day to do.
A rumble beneath your feet,
Gives away the surprise of the approaching
train. You know you can sit for a while longer,
Until everyone evacuates the sliding metal
jaws of the slick and powerful monster.
You see the businessmen adjust their shoulders.
You see the women’s hair catherine-wheel around their jaws.
You see the rebellious boy obey and step away from the gap.
You see the labourers glance up slightly, an act of respect.
You lean forward in your seat, ready to begin your day.
Your eye falls once again on the frozen man. His
elbows pinned to his waist, his head only slightly
tilted, and he is looking at the train. You lose
sight of him briefly, an old woman moving past you
to sit on your left. You nod slightly before rising.
There, again, but he’s moved. Forwards,
Ignoring direct orders to move away. And there is
a clearing around him, nothing too obvious, perhaps
only deep in their minds the waiters realise this
frozen man is not their kin, not their relation.
Nor is he yours. While you wait on the platform,
And scour the surroundings of the platform,
As you do every day, and you watch the clock,
And clock time on your watch, and tap your fingers
On your knee if the train is late, he does not.
While you wait impatiently to begin your day,
Knowing the brunette will pass by you several times,
With you uttering no words of desire to her,
You at least know there will be another lunchtime,
Another work day, another opportunity.
Another day after today. A day, perhaps, where you will
wait in for furniture that won’t be delivered until the next
day. A day, perhaps, where the tracks of the bin
lorry will wake you early, and you hope they’ve emptied the bin
this week. A day, perhaps, but a day, certainly.
But the frozen man is not of your kin either. While you blend
with each other type of toe-tapper on the platform, he blends
with no one. He stands in his clearing, stark, alone,
With the heels of his shoes on the yellow threshold,
Waiting for the rumbling wheels of the train.
No destination will consume him. No tempting relish
of a mate will attract his gaze. No plans has he made for
lunchtime, or any lunchtimes after. This is the only time
you will ever see him. No yesterday. Only today. No tomorrow
when you will once again be sitting at the train platform.