This Is My Stop.

We walk onto the platform, I look at him and wonder if he enjoyed his stay, I wonder if it was how he was expecting it to be, and if so, what was that? As we sit and wait for his train to arrive my mind drifts as do the minds of every other person on the platform. The seats have been hugged by the cold for too long, they are hard, uncomfortable and smell metallic. We don’t talk but the noises around us drown the loud thoughts in my head. I see a small girl wrapped up warm in her pink thick winter coat, grab her mother’s hand tight and pull her behind as she tries to keep herself busy by playing. Her mother smiles nervously to the strangers that surround her, who all have a watchful eye on the girl, as she tries her best to please her daughter.

The air is clear but every now and then, when a train approaches, there comes the strong pungent, intoxicating smell of oil, a little like petrol but not so sharp on the nose. There’s a man across the tracks on the other platform who keeps playing with his feet as he stares at the ground and stays close to the yellow paint that lines the floor with warning, ‘Stand back’. The more I look around the more it hurts to see that the decent looking station is actually just brick walls covered with an excessive amount of poster advertisements. The cafe that is on the right of where we sit, drifts a refreshing whiff of coffee that brings warmth into my slowly numbing hands. I never drink coffee but I appreciate when it’s overpowering smell enters my nose and settles my hunger. The taste, is bitter but comforting when you sit with only white skies to look at and all you can hear is the distant chatters of passengers and the shuffling of feet as their train approaches and they fidget anxiously to get on. A loud noise sounds, I can tell they’re making an announcement because the sound is similar to the one I’ve heard in swimming pools and supermarkets when they are using the intercom. A man’s voice speaks robotically as if reading from a sheet and advices which platform the next train is to arrive. The chattering stops as everyone listens for details and as he finishes there is a brief silence in which only the rumbling of the incoming train is heard. It approaches with squeals and squeaks and a whirring like a motorbike, and as it passes by fast, faces unrecognisable, it makes a deep whistling sound as if a kettle were on to boil. The sound of cars horning and an ambulances sirens have disappeared in this moment while it whizzes by creating wind that makes me shiver, but very quickly the sound becomes distant. Another train arrives, and this time it clatters as it comes to a halt, there’s beeping, the doors open, the lady with the red hair, wearing a bright red coat, blows her whistle and walks up and down waving her racket. The train doors close with a click and clack. The engine begins to roar and off it goes picking up speed as it leaves until it’s gone completely leaving only the sounds of  suitcases being rolled roughly across the uneven, cracked grey floor. I taste salt in the air and hear a quiet pitter patter on the roof of the shelter and look up to see that it’s raining yet again…

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