Thursday, 21 November 2013

Musings from the London train

Train: 15:09 to London Marylebone, 16/11/2013

Sitting by the window in the quiet carriage. I have a peppermint tea in front of me and an adolescent boy wearing a little too much cheap aftershave next to me. I'm on my way to meet friends in Covent Garden.

It's one of those days when the sun doesn't seem to have risen. It looks, to my mind, like it's 6pm outside, which confuses me: why am I going to London at 6pm for tea?  I find the loss of terms and essay deadlines confusing, there is no way to mark the passing of the weeks. At work, weeks and months are denoted by numbers, and the fact that before I know it I'll be peeling chestnuts and wrapping presents hasn't sunk in yet. I suppose this might explain why I think it's six o'clock and why I always find I have too few layers for running and why my mother asking me for Christmas present ideas seems bizarre.

The dying English countryside is slightly uninspiring. This is yellow and brown and grey, a world away from the sunlit golds, greens and reds that brighten my day as I drive to work.  The rising sun and ghostly mists never fail to amaze, and if you think I sound naive at finding beauty in the simple things, I suspect you've lost the joy of life. But there is beauty in the dying, too. The promise of glittering frosts, and snow, the memory of cold Sunday walks before 5 o'clock tea and a fire, Christmas.

The girl at Bicester in team kit wielding a hockey stick reminds me of school practices in winter. Hands so cold that to hit the ball and feel the repercussion was agony. I watched my sister's Christmas play at my old school last Wednesday and remembered that the best part of being in a performance was the camaraderie of the team. Everyone working towards one goal and spurring each other on. This is why I've fallen in love with my running club, why I will always find one to be part of no matter where I go, and why the manic days at work when we're working towards a particular target are my favourite.

Aftershave Boy has fallen asleep and is dangerously close to leaning his head on my shoulder. Should I subtly kick him? And I wonder if it really is that dark outside, or if the windows are tinted? This train track runs along a hill, and the cars below look like children's toys. But then, from an aeroplane I guess we look like a caterpillar, and people on a distant planet don't even know we exist. 

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