Monday, November 14, 2011

Platform 12

She ran down the steps, whispering to herself “I am free”... She did not understand how she almost flew off the steps: Light, that’s how she felt.
“ I am free” she kept repeating it, trying hard to remember all the beautiful slogans she read about freedom, all the songs she chanted as a child, all the synonyms related to that glorified word, she remembered none. She instantly thought of Kundera’s story, and how finally she was beginning to understand what he meant when he called it “the unbearable lightness of being”.
She was not running to the station anymore, she was flying. She did not look back, not even once. Was she tempted? Maybe.
“What if I miss the train? What if I reach the station to find it empty? Where will I go?” Home, she thought. A funny word, a phantasmagorical place rather. No, there is no home. She kept running, she could feel the slow loss of breath, but she did not slow down, she couldn’t now. Not anymore.
The distance between the bench and the station was not long, the station was not far. “Where will I go?” And then she smiled thinking to herself that this is everything she ever wanted; this is what she read in books and often imagined as her life. Running free in the cold streets of south London, homeless men begging for money and cigarettes, strange women and men drinking to forget, in the distance jazz music playing... This was it, this was her book, but she was no longer reading it.
The station is there, but her solace was behind. The station was too close now, it is time to look back, and maybe the bench can still be there. It wasn’t.
She reached platform 12, but it was the wrong platform, it did not take her home. She knew that, but she jumped on the first train 40 seconds before it departed. She knew the destination was unknown, but she took the train anyway.
On the seat, beside a man who looked happy with his poppy, and disgusted with the world in his paper, she began to breathe again. The music in her head began to fade away, her voice stopped narrating. It was all quite, it was light again.
He looked at her with eyes of wonder, and asked: “you smell really good, that is you right? It’s like I am in a meadow?” She nodded “Yes, I am the meadow.” He smiled and continued reading his paper. She looked away, and her heart started beating again, she was going nowhere, where will she sleep tonight?
His phone rang and all he said was “I am running a bit late, but I will be home soon.”