A blast of cold air as a train blows through, then gone. I pull myself in, closer to myself, my hand in frayed fingerless gloves, too cold to shiver. My ears covered by the hood of my top, warmish but not warm enough. My sleeves dangle and I don't mind - it keeps my hands warm. Everything is tinted with a frost, the sky a watery blue, the sun a pale yellowish-white disc that sends out light, but little warmth, like the colours have been left on a windowsill and faded with their inactivity on a warmer autumn. In this empty place, the dust sparkles. Old, rusted iron, weeds, gravel and deserted litter on a quiet backstreet where no-one comes except to go somewhere else. It's beautiful in a way that a camera could never catch. Cold. I am alone on the platform.
My train, sluggish and near empty. Inside, the businessmen sit with their laptops open sitting inside their briefcases, the women sipping bottles of mineral water and reading dossiers to prepare for the day ahead, in warm air-conditioned offices that look the same all over, corner conference rooms with blue swivel chairs and flipcharts, projectors and tidy plates of biscuits in the middle, plant pots by the double glazed windows looking out onto just another office block. And I dream of... of not getting on. Of running, instead, to some building site full of long-forgotten rubble, and just sitting there among the concrete chunks in my tatty shoes and cheap, torn jeans, spending the day thinking and listening and just sitting. I get on the train and forget about it. Life isn't like that.
As the train pulls out five long minutes later, myself the only one to get on or get off, I am sitting down, a freshly bought cup of coffee in my now-ungloved hand, I take off my rucksack and pull out my laptop, putting it on the table in front of me, ignored by the other passengers, as the empty passing-place passes me by. At the next station, my colleague gets on and I slide some papers over about the upcoming meeting. We talk. Another day at the office.