It’s night nearly, dusk, the shadows are almost complete and I’m moving onwards, over and over. I couldn’t begin to count how often I’ve been there. So many times, following the pattern; you drive or get the train on Friday evening, you travel back in Sunday dusk.
The train, then. Getting the train just as the darkness starts, then two, three hours of Sunday darkness. The movement, the sensation, swaying. The Friday train is full, thinning out over time, but the Sunday train is often almost deserted, bright lights and the taste of instant coffee. It’s a cellophane journey. The morning’s paper rammed into the back of the seat in front. Old news.
Each town swings around into view. The car parks and retail estates, all empty, all locked up. Optimal Sunday train time, four pm, closing up time. Some places locked since Friday, that turned the alarms on when I was shuffling for a ticket leading out into the wide world, when my bag was full of outfits and ideas, not just laundry. Look out of the window and learn to see past your own reflection, stare into your eyes until you can see the streetlights of somewhere unknown. Empty voids, closed up cafes, glimpse a wrecking yard, a bridge, the rush of water passing, only there in waves that steal the light, out into the country night, nothing now, fleeting village station lamps to break the self portrait. We don’t stop there.
There, you can see the fields, Sunday afternoon fields, dog walkers and kids running free, but now utterly impassive. Everyone’s gone home, the shoes are getting shined and the dread of an ironing smell fills the space. Kitchen lights on, upstairs bedside lamp, rush past, what dreams? What are you scared of, what are you dreaming of, whose eyes are they that you see as you look out of your own train, at your own track paling away into the unknown horizon? Who is it you long for, rushing on towards a morning destination?
I hope they will be there to meet you from your train. I hope you run into each others’ arms and I hope that the day you have arrived at is the one you needed. I hope the eyes you see are only your own when you need them to be, and I hope that when they aren’t, they shine for you, bright lights of warmth, of contact, windows on a place that’s more than getting ready for another day.