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Oct 1, 2004 | The Old Man

He sat there, dazed, eyes unseeing, heart unfeeling, back towards the rows of trains that waited patiently. The rows of baggages were spread before him, waiting to be picked up by fidgety porters with creased uniforms and gray gloves, waiting to be delivered to the anxious men and women whose properties were safely enclosed inside. Sitting on the wooden bench with his shoulder slightly hunched against the frigid wind that swept through the station, he dug his hands deeper into the thin layers of his coat.

“Is this going too, sir?”

The words punctuated the murmur of the people that walked silently past, and the man looked up slightly and shook his head. The porter turned and picked up another bag, hurridly shoving it onto the others stacked high upon a cart. The man continued to sit there, motionless.

Behind, a train began its departure, ever so slowly, inching its way out into the gray sky with increasing rapidity. The rattle and the roar that accompanied it receded gently, as the last passengers walked slowly away from the platform and towards the large black panels that fluttered yellow letters.

He straightened up, and fished into his coat pocket, bringing out a crumpled ticket, which he scrutinised for a few moments before putting it back. His hunched figure didn’t seem much out of place, as people cloaked in furs and down trudged past him, hardly noticing.

After a few moments another train slid into the platform, accompanied with the flip-flip of the letters. Somewhere distant a bell rang, and the sudden blare of horns permeated the thick walls, combined with a barrage of expletives that went unanswered. The wind picked up, and a white plastic bag sailed past, eventually fastening itself against a post box. The man’s eyes followed its movement, and, uninterested, focused elsewhere.

Standing up, the man walked calmly towards the train that had just arrived, carrying along a weathered bag and stepping gingerly among the other cases that were still stacked around him. His movement was slow, his actions deliberate, his feet calm.

Walking down the platform a small distance, he stepped on the metal steps of the train and gripped the bannister, pulling his figure through the already open door. It was considerably warmer inside, the warmth accompanied by a faint odour of smoke that mingled with the smell of leather. A few people had already taken their positions by the window, while others shuffled along the aisles inspecting the seat numbers.

He took a cushioned seat and sat down, his arm gently resting upon the seat. There he remained for a few moments, apparently pensive, a glow returning to his ashen face. It wasn’t long before he heard

“Excuse me”

It was a gentleman, a coat and journal in each hand.

The old man opened his eyes, looked up, and gently hopped off the train. When the 5 o’clock train departed a few minutes later, it chugged along slowly, leaving the solitary soul behind.

This entry was posted on Friday, October 1st, 2004 at 10:52 pm, EST under the category of Writings. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.