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a stranger on a train

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all i have to do is stop thinking about it and just do it. that’s what i keep telling myself only i just don’t. like the willful child i dig in my heels, cross my arms and set my jaw. but it’s easy enough…..like this….

i shoehorn myself through a thin gap in the clot of humanity that gathers in front of the doors (ARGGGGHH as usual) and i am rewarded with a seat just vacated. i don’t understand why people would choose to stand in clusters around empty seats, but it seems they do. i am inside my head idly thinking about nothing much at all and observing passengers around me. i’m not in the mood to read. the ride isn’t long so i don’t have to rumble around in my head with nothing to do for very long.

the girl next to me wears ripped fishnets and some f*** me boots, one of which bobs dangerously to and fro. she kicks me once but she apologizes. she takes off a ballcap, flips her hair one times two times and puts it on again. she mutters something in response to what we can hear of a young man’s  cellphone conversation. i sneak a look at her. i don’t like to judge but she looks like she is a long way from east hastings. yikes. that is judging. she is twitchy and jumpy and can’t get comfortable in the seat. she scribbles in an ineligible scrawl on small squares of paper with a pink pen. it reminds me of my adolescence. then like now, my favourite colour is purple.

then she asks of no one in particular but mostly me “why don’t people talk to each other any more?”. and for some reason i answer.  i’ve only rarely had spontaneous conversations with fellow urban travellers. on an occasion or two when i’ve hazarded a friendly hello, i’ve been ignored. it’s strangely pleasant to talk to her. she pitches headlong into a conversation of sorts asking me rapidfire questions and disclosing all sorts of information about herself; she lived on wreck beach for a summer; takes high doses of anti-psychotics, and has a teenage child.

she does have a point, though. all around us people are engaged in their own diversions. listening to music, playing games and watching videos on their smartphones. i am just as guilty and i would probably be doing the same if i hadn’t forgotten my phone. so when she asks me in the midst of our strange conversation if she can borrow my phone i don’t have to tell a baldfaced lie because i simply don’t want to lend it (daytime minutes). so she asks me for 5o cents, which i am willing to give, even though i have so little these days. she is a lost soul, beautiful in spirit, and i envy her the defiant dress and stance and willingness to speak her mind, and simply to be who she has become.

 

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