The USS Quad Damage

A train journey through the looking glass

Watching me, watching you

Since commencing employment, I’ve been traveling to and from work on our train network. I’ve started reading again and am happily occupied during my commute, but in those brief moments when looking away (or instead listening to music) I catch myself watching those about me. And the small everyday usual things are what really captivate me when observed in others.

To see someone frown as they tackle a particular part of their sudoku, crossword or daily word / mind puzzles. To hear the crinkle of newspapers as avid minds peruse the world not immediately about them.

To see the indecision in the amateur commuters face as they make that all important decision on weather to approach you and ask for a vacant seat.

To have someone seated close by with that freshly washed hair, watching it slowly dry as your journey progresses, their self conscious fingers occasionally fussing about at nothing.

To see someone really dressed up immaculate, a fresh haircut, trimmed fingernails, brimming with confidence with that flush of excitement... checking their wallets and purses, reading through their notes, going over last minute preparations, tensed shoulders, the flexing of muscles as their destination pulls up to a halt.

To see the weary worker at the end of the day, the night shift worker, the majority peak time city worker... the stained hands and uniforms, the misaligned ties, the ruffled shirts sticking out of the carefully tightened belts. The rare few with their bikes – mindful of the space about them... those others juggling their gym bags, or the pack of groceries, that long awaited shopping spree after payday.

To find school children, teasing one another and joking... losing themselves in that newfound partner, those unashamed hugs and kisses that last that little bit too long, the stares of the other commuters, their distaste for such outward displays... their smiles as they fondly reminisce.

To find that stolen look, that brief flirtation among strangers, or that newfound acquaintance who meets up daily on the same carriage, seated at that same seat... perhaps hoping one will brave the moment and introduce themselves, or maybe best left to that shy smile, the brief nod, and the slight adjustment of posture, clothing or hair to give away their excitement.

To have someone pass you by and then to be enshrouded in their lingering perfume, that deodorant, that soap... that particular scent.

To see friends and partners sharing the one set of headphones, seated in silent companionship... watching a downloaded show or listening to music matching their tastes... slowly nodding to the beat, or laughing at the same jokes. Sharing that brief personal hug as they depart from each other for the day, that quick kiss to the forehead, the hand through the hair, the nuzzle of nose on nose with the fleetest meeting of lips, so casual and common, so intimate... that parting goodbye, the trailing eyes as one turns away, the slightest upturn of the mouth.

Then to finally take the first step outside, into the fresh air, the overcast sky, the pouring rain, the soothing sun, the chilly fog... onto the firm stable ground, that first big breath as you walk about, a face among many, a dot in the horizon... you look about and you smile to yourself as your feet routinely take you onwards into your day.