We sat like strangers on a train platform,
waiting for our train to be announced.
Though I sat at your side, I didn’t know
what you were thinking. You didn’t know
what I was thinking either. Around us
the crowd of plastic smiles jostled for
position. We were as plastic as the rest.
Our place in society thereby assured.
Bored. I stood up. You didn’t seem to
mind. Through the windows I could
see the grey haze of a thunderstorm.
Reminded me of the dark spaces of
my heart. Walking in that “bored of
waiting” pattern, I noticed nothing
and nothing noticed me.
“Be right back”, I shared. Your nod
neither acknowledging or concerned.
As I paced the confines of the station,
I was struck with how often in life
I paced through the decisions I made.
I felt eyes seeking mine. Turning towards
the pop machines, there I saw a woman
with blue eyes and a dangerous smile.
Her smile said “welcome”, which was
not allowed in the world we lived through.
I could not resist smiling back as I
made eye contact with her. Difficult to
explain but I felt as if the outside rain
had ceased to matter anymore.
“How are you?”, I intoned, in the
usual way. “Just fine, and you?”, she
answered. Acceptable social contact
had been established. We mumbled
platitudes for a few moments. It comforted
me. She broke the rules and whispered,
“I am lonely and I sense you are too.”
Difficult to switch from plastic to real!
We sat down together on the nearest
styrofoam couch so typical of
waiting rooms the world over.
“I need to live” I shared, uncertain
of how she would reply. “I have
survived in an acceptable pattern
for a good number of years.”
“You can live, if you let yourself
do so.” she insisted. “You can
drop the pretence of survival and
take the first steps towards yourself.”
I considered her words. They stuck
like oil in my tumbling brain, jarring
the rusty emotions into action.
“I have to go back to my wife. We
are going to visit relatives in Montreal.”
She nodded in understanding and slipped
a piece of folded paper into my hand. Opening it
I saw it was a phone number. I assumed
it belonged to her.
“Call me when you get back,” she moaned,
desire slipping from her lips.
“I will”, I promised, afraid to say much more.
“How did you write this down without my
seeing you do so?” I asked.
A smile on her face. “I wrote it down
this morning. I’m not here to take a trip.
I’m here to connect with destiny and
seeing you I realized what it was.”
With that she got up from her seat,
returning the plastic to her face.
“Have a nice day”, she gurgled.
“You too”, I mumbled back.
Softly she whispered “Don’t
forget to call me when you get home.”
With that she walked away. I got up
and did not follow her. Went back to
pacing the train station, went back
to the reality of my life. My wife
had not noticed a thing, or was it
that she had but couldn’t care less?
Our train was announced. We started
to walk towards the depature gate.
Stepping into place beside my prison,
I threw the piece of paper away.