words Sarah Herrmann
Wednesday begins on the platform. The early-morning wind
stings her tired eyes.
Fresh air fills her empty lungs – slow, deep breaths.
The yellow-gold coat flies…
The doors glide to a close
and opportunity is dashed.
The roar subsides to a gentle mumble as she walks across the aging floor – scarred and speckled
with the rush and race of humanity.
The murky, muddy windows
reflect these souls and stories –
those unknown to their fellow passengers. Because it’s only a train,
A babbling baby
bounces on a parental knee: grinning toothily,
knowing nothing at all. Schoolgirls whisper
about homework and cruel boys.
The stark innocence
produces eye-rolls and smirks. Two strangers beam
over that lust for life
that they had since forgotten.
The train is magical, alive just for a moment.
The beams that radiate from their rosy cheeks dim as a scowler silences them.
The announcements reverberate,
whirling across the carriage,
revealing an ocean of colour and shape. The embodiment of a cultural mingling pot so unlike the usual trickle of familiar faces.
to a simple rural girl.
But new eyes see differently – and it’s beautiful.
Diverse, bold, and rich.
Her heart drops.
The stab of pain stings.
Like when you recall a song, or detect a scent
from a past time,
from a past life.
still filled with promise. Hopeful and innocent. Unaware of how soon those feelings will pass.
Adults may stare –
blankly into the void. Interaction: a rarity.
Black mirrors controlling. Loneliness is so clear, here.
clad in graphic tees and jeans, reek of cigarette smoke
and oily French fries.
A bearded man
scrawls with pen on paper. Wearing heavy headphones and a wedding band,
A glowing young couple
with bounds of bouncing hair have bright and curious eyes only for each other.
… She yearns for the comfort of childhood
remembered in that carriage that morning. But the train travels forward
in a new direction.
Hope still exists.
Perhaps it’s not only a train.
But a place that before release
into the unwelcoming world –
whoever you are,
however flawed you may be –