BCN: return trip to London (2007)

Arrived back in England. Standing at the airport. Busy. The usual gathering of folks. French women in long coats pushing drunken trolleys filled with luggage, a couple hundred families back for the long run, some kid in a corner thinking about things and a lifetime of future. And here I am, leaning to one side, waiting for the flat conveyor belt to deliver, thinking of other things, my mind occupied by nothing in particular. And everything seems the same airport colour, a non too insulting shade of grey. Not quite plastic, not quite metal. The colour of a new cardigan perhaps. The crowd follow up around the conveyor and begin shuffling their feet, looking around the other faces, hopeful for some element of confirmation. A couple of Eastern European girls having a mild debate about buses and trains into the centre. And perhaps you catch the eye of some beauty, standing across from you – between the gypsy sacks and travelling bags – who does not dare to smile until you have broken the first wave. Your luggage arrives. Mercilessly, you pick it up, take a final salute to the sweet eyes across from you, and head out into the colder air. Somewhere you find a train, which sets off with the death of the sun and the resurrection of night. No evenings, just sun and then no sun. An instant black. London afternoons.

On the train into town with a runny nose and a phone that is rapidly dying. The ticket boy comes around, a mere shrill of a man. Younger and taller than me and covered by a dark grey, three quarter length coat. He calls you sir and supports himself with the machine strapped about him. He appears comfortable enough and handles the different passengers accordingly yet in the same, preserved manner. Allowing a space between individual reasoning and inevitable human conditioning. His cheeks are thin. His skin is grounded but with the possibility of growth. His life may well be parched and all is stationed for him upon this train and the great London Railway Company. He issues me my ticket and proceeds to aid a young Korean woman with her journey plan. The other passengers listen on and keep their eyes fixated upon this young gentleman, his customer and the polite undertakings occurring yonder. Then my phone rings, which, in turn causes it to die and gracefully renders me a silent, unknown citizen through this quiet and uncertain night.

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