“I don’t want to think about any of it just yet, to be honest,” she said, “I just want to find myself in each moment.” She didn’t say goodbye, she simply shut down her mind and her laptop, turned off the stars that lit up her bedroom and crawled in between the freshly laundered silk sheets. Perhaps it took her two hours to fall asleep that night, but she slept beautifully, naturally. It was a first.
I stood there feeling a little embarrassed. I raised my hand for the bus and then I retracted it; it was a 76 and I had just gotten off a 76. I apologised to the driver with a nod of the head and I stepped back. He stopped anyway. I looked up and saw everyone looking at me – funny.
The doors down stairs opened and I was looking at me too. I watched myself get off the bus. I analysed me. Everything I would do I did. I said “thank yew” in a Bristolian accent as I stepped off the bus. Then I whispered to my self ‘what on earth did you do that for? You’re from London!’
Then I secretly laughed at the woman who tripped for three whole steps. I laughed too.
I looked more closely at myself and realised I was looking at me. I was over there seeing me from over here. Had I died? Surely I would see a limp body hanging off the bus if I had died.
A little boy jumped off the bus behind me in his school uniform and grabbed my hand. He looked up at me and we skipped off into the distance.
To be honest had I not been frozen in shock I would have followed myself and the little boy. Where were we going? Who was the boy? And who was the third figure I saw us greet and leave with us in the distance? The little boy looked a little like me and a lot like my best friend. He was chuckling like him too as he jumped off the bus. Although I didn’t find it funny.
It was a sort of surreal real dream. I continued my life after that. I never saw them around town again. At least not until I picked up my son from school and took him to meet his father at work one afternoon.
I get off the 76 and say ‘thank yew’ and then scold myself a little for saying it like that. I can’t believe I still do it. And I still find myself laughing at the little misfortunes of other people.
I see a woman laughing too. I think to myself she’s bad minded so I stop laughing. She looks like an older version of myself; maybe it’s because we are the only two laughing. She’s staring at me as though I had been a close relative of hers once.
I look into the glass window of the flower shop and see my reflection. Our reflection. This moment I feel as though I had seen it before.
Once when he was seven he witnessed the murder. A family member, his best friend, his father’s brother, terminated a woman just like they do in all the games. That woman was not his best friend, nor was she his friend. He disliked her because she took his best friend away from him every night. He would hear them playing in the middle of the night- every night. This angered him because she would not let him join in their fun. Terrence swore his allegiance to his father’s brother on the night of the termination. And for 3 years not a word departed from his lips.
After the termination, whenever things humored him, he only wore a smile that could only be seen in his eyes.
To the porcelain brown hair guy on the 17:36 train from Vauxhall to Kingston, I wish I had said something other than “y’okay” when you said sorry for touching my hand on the pillar. How about we make a second first impression?
(A little embarrassed) Sharon x
Sharon’s rush-hour–crush note appeared in the Metro. When she saw it she thought how awkward it would be if anyone recognised her. There wasn’t a picture, but there was writing and for Sharon writing was just as revealing as a picture. She smiled to herself, folded the paper and got in queue for the arrival of her train to work. It wasn’t much of a queue. There was two school children ahead of her. The taller one was holding the Metro open, on the page of her message. Had the porcelain guy seen it too?
After work she boarded the 17:36 train having completely forgotten that she had written a rush-hour–crush let alone having read it published in the paper. She managed to get a seat today, which was a rare happening. She turned on her blackberry and flitted through her emails.
‘Mark R wants to make contact,’ one of the emails said. She wondered for a moment whether it was spam and where they had managed to pick up her email address.
She opened it, and turned a deep crimson colour. She smiled, then grinned.
“Yea why not”, she heard someone with a deep voice say loudly but she didn’t realise it was directed to her.
“Yes. A second first impression might be called for, Sharon,” the voice continued. Her eyes shot open, wide. She dropped her blackberry on her foot. Awkward. As she lowed her self to pick it up, her eyes followed the long legs that belonged to the porcelain brown haired man, she now knew went by the name Mark.