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I rush to the old slam door train on platform 10 of Waterloo station. I should really wait and get a faster train, but I've just completed a 14 hour day and I'm not thinking straight.

I have to run; the rail companies always insist on putting the smoking and first class carriages at the front of the train. There's a free seat, I open the door and dive in.

I have a seat to myself. Across from me is an attractive older woman concentrating on her book. She doesn't acknowledge my entry, or even glance up. Across the aisle, 2 men are engaged in an animated conversation. They are talking in a language I do not recognise - it may be Arabic. Opposite them are a couple in their Sixties. They are probably back from a day trip to London; She has a rucksack he has some shopping bags. I wonder if the rucksack has a flask half full of cold tea.

A fat business man has thrown open the door and squeezed through it. He has a huge briefcase and laptop case, which almost decapitates both myself and the woman opposite me - who again remains oblivious to the world outside her book.

The fat man heaves his cases to the luggage rack and sits down. I expect him to open a huge newspaper but he opens a paperback and starts reading; so much for stereotypes.

The train pulls away - only 90 minutes till I am home.

I run to catch the last train home. Platform 16 at London Waterloo. It's usually one of those newer trains with electric doors, but thankfully tonight it's the slam door variety. This means comfortable seats and a smoking carriage.

The train is, as usual, packed. There's been a rugby game on at Twickenham, and it's been a busy day. I waited patiently on the station concourse, the silence broken only by the singing rugby fans, and the clackety-clack-clack of the announcements board. Platform 16, on your marks, set, go.

My sobriety affords me an edge in the mad dash for the first carriage. I say dash, but it's really just concerted walking. I take my seat and bunker down for the ride.

Follow the drill soldier .. release lock .. load cans .. depress play button ..

Tricky. Perhaps not the bounciest of music. I sigh .. it's been a long day. I look around the carriage and watch my fellow travellers fall in. The usual mix of people studiously ignoring one another. Here come the rugby fans, suitably dressed in rugby shirts, faces daubed with nationalistic pride .. presumably to aid identification.

The train pulls away from the platform as I doze, wondering about why we still have 1970s rolling stock on these lines, my thoughts interlaced with hypnotic beats.

After a while I get up to use the toilet. In my naive amnesia I believe that this is possible. I leave my bag on my seat, take it if you dare. Squeezing past the rugby fans illicits no response .. perhaps they too feel the hour. The toilet is occupied, and I decide to wait it out. After a few minutes a girl emerges .. she can't be more than 15. Pretty .. I suspect she'll break a few hearts in her lifetime.

It appears she has redecorated the toilet. Oh well, I only wanted to blow my nose anyway.

Making my way back past the first class compartments. Somehow I doubt those two teenagers trashing the headrests are valid ticket holders. My seat is as I left it .. I kid myself that seniority still counts for something these days .. then remember I'm only 19.

Feltham's coming up .. I scour the wasteland for burning car wrecks. In truth I have a few friends who live in Feltham, it's really not as bad as people make out. But they do seem to regard joyriding and arson as family entertainment.

Almost all of the rugby fans have departed now, leaving just the one lone diehard. Evidently he doesn't feel the abscence of anyone he knows is a barrier to revelry. He continues singing in a low, almost pathetic voice. He's tired now .. dragging the words. Outwardly no one is aware of him .. inwardly we're lynching him.

Feltham station. The sign says "Alight here for bus link to London Heathrow Airport". It reminds me of travel, of places too far away to know. I stumble off .. my fatigue disguising me amongst the crowd. I begin the long walk to George's .. past the best kebab dealer in London. I arrive at George's .. he's only just back .. wake up, it's time for bed.

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