Felicity Pickering

Nicole Dimitriadis and I (Felicity Pickering) have loved reading the posts that have come in for A View From Moving Windows. It’s been a privilege showcasing so many talented writers! The only downside is when it’s come to write our own, we have to write something that could sit alongside posts with such calibre! So here goes nothing…

In cinema, trains are meant to represent sex.

I use to catch the train home from school. We’d sit on the ground at Croydon station chewing Zappos and harassing whoever had Doritos to ‘give us one’.  If a train was cancelled there would be a collective sigh as sixty or so girls decided whether to hightail it to Burwood for an express. The announcement was always followed by an army of tartaned girls in kilts ripping up the stairway. We would have made William Wallace proud, our school principal less so.

My school was fraught with rumours that there was an underground tunnel to the station, that the Old Hall housed a secret passage. The boarders swore they had ventured into it. They would tell us of dirty cement and dead pigeons that watched over the entrance like gargoyles.  The stories made my school sound more like the Kremlin than Croydon.

The train had a different culture to the bus, which was quicker but never as exciting. The train had delays, attempted suicides. The train had old men who took delight in sitting in the door carriages with seats facing the girls. Old men who enjoyed letting their legs spread to reveal a fully exposed set of genitals. I suppose that was some kind of abuse.

The train was exciting because it had boys. Thick waves of Lynx preceded them. Black and white lemmings that stank of douchebag. They spoke loudly about rugby games and competed in front of you. It was always a battle. They spat ‘loser’ and ‘chimer’ at each other, harassed one another and tried to assert their authority. The cool girls would laugh and flirt with them, boast about detentions they’d got. It was always the cool girls who knew boys on the train.

I’d keep quiet. I’d try and maintain normal conversation. I’d try to not look like too much of a nerd but not stand out too much.

One day a boy talked to me on the train. I’d just gotten a Body Shop ‘Born Lippy’ Strawberry Lipgloss for my birthday. This particular lipgloss was very hip at the time. The boy saw it in my pale little hand and exclaimed:

‘I love that lipgloss.’

And with one dirty finger he scooped out all the pink sweet smelling gloss and ate it with his big dopish mouth.

Years later when I was doing film studies at uni, I discovered that trains represented sex in cinema. That trains were meant to be phallic symbols that assumed sexual meaning when going through tunnels and bridges.

Suddenly the train schedule became the path of the pene, charting the big steel phallus’ that penetrated Sydney daily. I suppose Sydney trains are phallic in the way they give life to the city and sometimes they come early, or they don’t come at all.

I don’t think of them as symbolising sex but they do symbolise my first reactions to the opposite sex, mild annoyance and a little bit of repulsion.

A picture of me around the same time.

What I’d look like if a guy tried to eat my lip gloss now. You’ve been warned.

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