Autumn

This has nothing to do with any ICT, PGCE, SSP, or WWE. But it’s been so long since I’ve written anything creatively, and I thought my scribblings should have an audience of some sort. So, a short story for your – assuming anybody is reading this – amusement …

Autumn stretches out in front of me: a road well-travelled, yet the journey time still unclear. The early days are fine: sunny and warm; fresh yet familiar. But they fade fast, making way for the clouds that stalk, the chill winds that bite, and the leaves that have fallen, mocking us for not being able to do the same.

My toe caught the top of the bag next to me, and knocked me into her, my elbow jabbing her shoulder. She moved back a step before regaining her balance and turning her eyes on me, waiting with an apology that assured her I had been clumsy, not rude, aggressive, or hell, even threatening. Her stare softened, no rings on her fingers as she gestured at me not to worry, and flicked the stray hairs – the shade of chestnut that defined the season – from her cheek. We stood, in silence, side-by-side, until we reached our stop.

She reached for the button to open the doors; I took a step back as she hopped off the carriage, and paced to the exit.

Next day, and we exchanged a smile as we waited for the train to ease itself to a stop. Again, she went first, and I watched as she strolled down the platform, collected, relaxed. Professional. Large, leather handbag; dark, floral, knee-length skirt; flat shoes; hair resting, with a slight curl, down to her shoulder blades, the sun bringing out an auburn twinge. My age, within five years at least. Fresh, yet familiar.

Day three, and we shudder to a halt, just outside the station. The sun is still large in the sky and it seeps through the windows, filling every last nook and cranny, raising the temperature, almost unbearably. She wipes her forehead with the back of her hand, and sighs. We’re not moving anytime soon.

“This happens too often,” I venture with a sideways glance, a smirk, a shrug of the shoulders, and a quick shift of focus to the carriage floor. She smiles with lips pursed: I feel her eyes trying to catch mine, then look away, then return.

“Third time this month,” she replied. “Journey will be the death of me.”

I turn my face toward her. We lock eyes and I nod, eyebrows raised. “We have the patience of saints. At least there’ll be a place in heaven for us when it pulls the trigger.”

“Well,” she clears her throat. “Something to look forward to at least.” We mirror our smiles: broad, light-hearted. I barely register the leaves caressing the windows as they saunter to the ground. Pause: the moment takes a breath.

“To be fair, my boyfriend’s been waiting half-an-hour already. He’ll be the one with the gun in hand.”

I smile. Our eyes meet once more. I divert: a look over my shoulder to an imaginary friend.

We wait.

Silence, as thick as the heat in the carriage, as we wait.

The engine pipes up: tremble, rumble, shudder.

Tremble. Rumble. Shudder.

“Finally,” she giggles. I roll my eyes.

Tremble. Rumble. Shudder.

Tremble. Rumble. Shudder.

Tremble. Rumble. Shudder.

Stop.

“Don’t think we’re moving just yet,” I say.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s