The rhythmic clatter of the steel wheels rumbled along the tracks keeping an unsteady heartbeat of time as the landscape smeared past. Each click resonated through the air and along the beams of the cars, bellowing out a metallic tone in an asymmetric ideal. It vibrated through her body in an eerie comfort for any number of reasons.
Flipping her black hoodie up over her head it flirted with her feathery, black hair just enough to flick it across her brow and into her face. She bowed her head to allow the remaining strands to settle in front of her waterlogged eyes and the cap of the hood to come down below her eyebrows. Settling herself into the seat caddy corner, wedging herself between the worn vinyl back and the hardened plastic of the window and began to rummage through her backpack for a book. It was really anything to help block out the rest of the train and portray a person so self-absorbed she would not and could not attract any unneeded and unwanted attention. Her hands were clad in half-fingered, fading black, woolen gloves, well worn from the many times patting baby powder and the softening of use over time.
In her fingers was gripped the dusty binding of Kundera, her small clutch, and a half crumpled ticket for the train, but her glace was more upon the grayed window at her cheek as she glared at the steadily passing scenery and became reflective. The introspective nature of who she was completely shifted focus from the beauty of the landscape to the tumult that engaged her soul. The absorption into herself easily became inundated by the chatter of the wheels along the beams in a slantering banter turning her more internal with each rail pattern.
Slowly, the blurring landscape began to fade in her mind and she hear herself repeating in time with the clacks of the car along the tracks, “Let’s start, with just the basics, then, I’m sure that, we could fake it, when, It’s time to say, how much it meant…” *
As the reeds became trees became buildings became the next landscape she reflected upon herself. It was a dangerous concept to. Like the way the landscape she passed had gone from strong white birch forests to delicate salt marshes, from established urbanisms to near failing rural communities. It forced her to reflect on her own life and how life was changing before her eyes. A single tear streamed down her cheek from the outer corner of her eye and as it dropped to the binding with a silent plop.
She shifted slightly in her seat, and with an impulsive move placed her hand back over bag just to check if there was that awaited text message. There wasn’t, she was sure but she couldn’t help but make sure in case there was she’d feel the message as it came through. A second tear dropped, this time on her glove over the clutch.
Was she investing her emotions at the wrong time? On the wrong thing? Was she going to end up as the barren wasteland of the towns she was passing? The more she allowed her mind to wander among the sentiments seething inside of it the worse she began to feel. The remaining auburn hues of autumn flashed in the window next to her face as she struggled to press her head under her hood further while shuffling in her seat yet again. No distance was far enough from what she was feeling. No train ride could get her away fast enough. No hook could really hid the truth.
So she nervously checked her phone again before turning her attention to the text sitting in her lap. Carelessly, she placed the ticket among the yellowing pages while in her head hummed “How quickly lust can pretend it’s love” as she cracked the binding to the dog eared page as her eyes began scanning over the page. At first aimlessly, struggling to find focus and the pace she needed to reconvene the experience, but as she can, she begins to pull together words into phrases into sentences into authoritative thoughts. Brushing the strands of black from her view she turns her head slightly and shifts in the seat again as she turned the coarse paper of the page exposing the next thought.
Hiding behind the guise of reading is one thing, becoming so enveloped in it that the world then begins hiding from her is quite another. She became transfixed by the text enough to ward off even the passing glance of anyone getting on from stop to stop, thus keeping the seats near her free like a bug zapper warns off the evening moths. However it was only a guise, it could not deter her fully from herself and each glance up from the pages returned her eyes to the reality she was trying to escape from. Each passing mile only illusionally put her further from the pain of non-communication, for, she knew, such a thing was not a delusion of distance.
* from Emery “So Cold I Could…”