Thursday, October 15, 2009

Changing courses

An excerpt from the twelfth day after the day that was.

Several people I know didn’t think my decision to leave work was the wisest one to make. I think I’ve had money bet on enough long shots in the past for them not to be all that surprised by my announcement. My yardstick of long shots is still sulking before a public exam in grade 6 until dad allowed me the small pleasure of watching the last 30 minutes of The New Adventures of Superman or to be more precise, my then mega crush, Dean Cain. The sulking wasn’t fun and I don’t even remember what I watched but for a 12-year old, I felt that the small victory made a huge impact on my staying power as a person albeit one infatuated with a made-believe man from Krypton who didn’t know I existed.

I was still hearing the incessant thud of heavy-hearted words echoing through my not-so-hollow head as I boarded the train. Running simultaneously as I gazed out of the window were the lyrics to “On Top of the World” by the Carpenters and the ironic ending to Karen Carpenter. The train stopped at a station. Our dependence on routine is most acute when it is disrupted. We waited for the train to resound its familiar warning of closing doors but none came. So we waited and waited and waited yet further. The world became dark as night glowed with the setting of the sun and yet we waited. I could see the moist, pink-tinged membrane of my eye through the reflection in the window but I couldn’t see the opaque orb itself. It made for a gruesome moment; watching what I could look like if I had no eyes. The question going through my mind during that morbid period was less “What would I see?” and more “How would I see things differently?”

As people became visibly agitated, I started thinking about what people had said about staying the course instead of leaving nearly a decade of Law. I imagined that the train was the journey and that stops were where people made their choices whether to stay or to go.

As people left, I contemplated where they might head to or if they would reach the destination they had set out to in the beginning or if their desired aim changed with the evolving circumstances they found themselves in.

Some stood with one foot on the train and one on the platform as if waiting for a better offer to come along but not really prepared to leave their current situation in the hope that things might pan out.

The girl sitting directly in front of me seemed to be staring at me without looking at me. Her face wore a blank expression of sallowed canvass, her steadfast eyes seemed to glaze-over, silently screaming at something the others around her couldn’t see. She made me think of a large fish, a trout perhaps, or a guppy, trapped beneath a surface of ice, pressing its eyeball to the glass ceiling as if trying to breathe by seeing. For the briefest of moments, I wanted to shake her to make sure she hadn’t actually just died there on the train. That would certainly have made for headlines.

It would however, have provided an ironic perspective to ‘Leisure’ by WH Davies:-

What is this life if full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare?

I stayed on the train. I guess it was a premonition of where I find myself now.

2 comments:

σοφια said...

I thought that was by Robert Frost? I've read that poem. cant remember where.

Debibo said...

it's davies