I slept unusually long last night, though it seems that come Sunday night the week catches up with me and I need an extra hour of sleep to make it good. I switched off the light at 10.30 and woke up a little before 7 (typically I’m lights out 11.30, up at 6.45). I woke and felt in no hurry. I give myself leeway on a Monday morning because who wants to rush anywhere then? Certainly not if it’s to work.
Eventually I get on the train and it’s a bit fuller than usual because it’s later than customary. I sit there and do the usual thing, idly watching the comings and goings while listening to an audiobook.
My eyes light upon a man a few years older than me in a suit. He seems much older than me, but that’s always hard to judge, and something I tend to think more often than not regardless. In any case he has about 10 kilos on me and is silver throughout, hair and beard. I don’t really take much notice of him but for his leather satchel. It’s a quality piece, but what catches my eye is the strap, which at one point has frayed to the point that it looks like but a thread holds it together. I wonder, why has he not replaced it, or least made some effort to mend it? I imagine when inevitably it will part. What will he do then? My mind slips into speculative mode. I wonder when he bought the satchel, and where that was? What was his life then? What did he think and feel? What has changed?
The train carries on and at Middle Brighton a blonde woman slips into the seat diagonally opposite me by the window. At first glance she is attractive, fine featured, shapely and well dressed. She has a stern countenance though, a look that discourages easy conversation. It’s probably just an unfortunate case of a harsh resting face (I know that my resting face intimidates people), but I can also see how she will age into a hard faced old woman if she is not careful.
After that first glance I take little notice of her. She spends most of the trip staring at her phone as if she is angry with it. But then she puts the phone down and looks out the window. I catch her reflection in the glass and look again at her face. She has the most striking eyes. I wonder what colour they are, somewhere between blue and green I think, but with a crystalline purity. They are just eyes, but I wonder what they mean. What does it feel like to have eyes like that? Maybe it makes you angry, but I doubt that. I want to know more about her. Like the man she has a story.
I look out the window. Richmond station has passed and we are edging into the city past Margaret Court Arena. A spontaneous memory comes to me as the train passes beneath Fed Square. I remember a moment, many years ago. I’m with a woman, she’s Italian, with lush, dark tumbling hair and a wide mouth that smiles a lot. She thinks I’m the bees knees, but I can’t recall her name. We have just watched an old French film at ACMI and are getting some fresh air during the intermission. It’s a warm night and this girl looks into my eyes and takes my hand, and presses it down under the strap of her paints and there between her legs warm and inviting.