Taking part in the daily commute meant he had a purpose; he was working. He started taking the train so people could see him sat waiting at the exposed platform, and he copied their worried faces. He tutted when he heard the announcers muffled voice explaining: the train would be late, the train would be shorter, the train would not be arriving. He perfected the folding of the Financial Times so it would show only one column. He made a point of not talking to anyone, though he’d raise his eyebrows every so often and nod his head as if about to speak. The steady rock and rolling of the carriage was comforting and he envied those who could stand there with their eyes shut, their bodies bobbing, following that movement, not stumbling nor stepping on someone’s foot. He liked the closeness of these bodies, sweating in the packed, badly ventilated carriage. There was reassurance in seeing the same faces: the world still continued and loss did not break you, make you forget to change your underwear or wash your hair. When his daughter popped round, always at four o’clock on a Thursday, he would rant about the hassle of the daily commute. Anything. Anything so he didn’t have to think about the empty, sunken chair in the corner.
Copyright 2006 A Head/Photo by Claudio Schwarz on Unsplash
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