I sat on the train and wished for the conductor to turn off all the power so the natural light could flow in and make our eyes glow, those who have the knowledge. In the cold of indifference, in the faces of those who stand still we allow our furnaces to cackle and our fire laughs and sniggers and warms us and keeps us alive. I stare up at the ceiling and invite you to do the same. When you look down the centre of the train, and you see the windows at the edges of your eyes, the scenery seems to move much faster, and you feel as though you’re moving inside a vacuum.
Their sanctity is flimsy and fragile. We can’t even call it rotten; even in decay something is alive – bacteria, survival, renewal. Their safe place is an empty echo chamber, dried leaves, the morality and mental strength of an abandoned spider’s web. Useless, not interesting enough to be fucked up or down or sideways, a failure of humanity, a failure to be human with token empathy and stock phrases of engagement.
I think about a man I despise; a man who had children because he was bored and now he doesn’t want them and they don’t want him, but he still draws their names in biro on the top of his hand because he’s trying to work out why he didn’t name them something else. He bred from boredom, desperation and instinct; nothing more.
I shuffle in my seat and look over to you, trying to telepath a question past your cheekbones. I’m asking if I’m anxious because I’m having an anxiety attack, or have I just drank too much caffeine today? I’m trembling, constantly shifting, constantly switching the tunes on my iPod, thinking about cancer, or the train crashing, or a bright bulb on the horizon that signals the end of everything, as the glass shatters, the table melts into our laps, over our legs, and we all burn – with no one to smother us and put out the flames. You’re rocking from side to side with the rhythm of the train but everything else about you is still. I can’t look at you, because I want to climb inside you – to climb inside your womb and wait for everything to pass. I can’t look outside. I’ve read the same page of this book sixteen times. Shuffle another song. Shuffle, shuffle, shuffle. Turn the page, and turn it back again. My left arm throbs and buzzes with repressed energy. I just want to sleep, so I can hide in black dreams and wait until I can take shelter in the sanctuary of another morning.