The platform, always too brightly lit and always a stark contrast to the tunnel at either end.
I like to stand back from the caution line, near the tiled wall but not against it and wait to feel the train approaching.
I feel the train approaching before I hear it and then look in the direction I sense it’s coming from.
I hear the train approaching before I see it, a low growling tone, mechanical yet primal.
Head lights glow yellow-white from deep within the tunnel and suddenly my adrenaline peaks as I’m blasted by the driver’s car breaking through the still platform air and subsides just as quickly as each car, in succession passes ’till the train stops.
Unbelievably, the car is brighter than the platform causing me to wince but it passes quickly. Next comes the small thrill from the realization that any reasonable expectation of privacy has vanished. This is the people watcher’s wild fancy realized.
Standing offers minimal distance and a bit of a height equating to an advantage for people watching. I view a film over this one’s shoulder -noting the make and model of laptop used. I read a novel over the other’s shoulder – noting the book cover design and coloring. I study this commuter’s worn shoes, the run in that one’s stocking. I note this one looks sickly, another exhausted, a third nibbling anxiously at the skin around their finger nails and a fourth who’s hyper alert. I wonder where the others are going. Heading out? Heading home? What awaits them at either?
I never tire of the partial conversations despite the language spoken. I never tire of watching the others watching me, avoiding eye contact or nodding off in their seats – heads bobbing in synch with the train and fingers twitching through periods of REM while racing along the rails.
I’ve no idea how many miles of grey cement, burnt umber track or white tiles rushed past during my life but the world’s problems, friends’ problems, problems that stalk me daily but I deny… all left above on the street.
Down below, inside the overly bright cars, we all travel in the same direction, at the same speed, each drafting our thoughts, crafting our plans, constructing our dreams for our lives above ground.