Today’s blog post is by Alison Rooke! Alison wrote ‘In the key of E’ for A View From Moving Windows. There is the opportunity to talk to Alison, and other A View From Moving Windows writers, at the Writers Q and A. This will be held tomorrow after the performance. Make sure you’ve booked your tickets!
We were all about trains.
Separate tracks carried us toward a city lit up by beauty and shameless self-promotion. Locked in silver carriages hurtling though places I would never visit, I’d primp and preen as if a hair out of place or a skirt not sitting perfectly on a hip would be the deciding factor in whether you loved me or not, noticed me or not.
In a class at the end of the tracks, I’d sit behind you, staring… that neck, the brown and white striped jumper you’d wear when it rained, the way you played with your hair, curly, twisting and pulling. I’d wish we could board a train and go to all the places in my head, where I was different and you loved me.
That Thursday. My mind a bubble of you, the sound of you laughing at a joke I’d made in class. You’d turned, nodded once. I smiled, looked away. You saw me.
That Thursday I caught the wrong train.
I was thinking about all the different platforms and suburbs that your train carried you past everyday and before I knew it, there I was, sitting in a carriage, on a train drifting past all those same stations. Your train.
My cheeks burned, my head buzzed. Your train smelt like coffee and burnt sugar.
Sydenham station. Sitting on the platform waiting for my train to arrive, to transport me back to where I belonged. Your face, your face, your face.
Your face in front of me. On the train, in front of me. You looking out the window. Looking at me on the platform. You right there. A sign. You saw me. You smiled and
raised a hand as the carriage eased out of the platform headed for beachside suburbs. I nodded once. You saw me.
You first kissed me on a train. A kiss so startling I laughed out loud into your mouth. You took the laugh in. Absorbed it, covered it with belonging. Your eyes opened a little wider and I loved you.
A row of carriages took you away. A thick and heavy summer night. The interstate rail line at Central, tracks nestled beneath a canopy of goodbyes. You, bouncing on your heels in excitement … me, gulping down fragments of empty.
The train sat, watching our farewell, quietly aware that it was about to carry you off to new stations, new experiences. Places you didn’t want to see with me.
You kissed me quick. You took none of me in. You nodded once and then you were gone.
We were all about trains.