Wednesday, March 18, 2009

A single moment

I'm standing at the edge of the Victoria line (northbound) platform at Kings Cross, precisely aligned so that when the second-to-last set of doors open I will be just enough to the left of the doors that I shouldn't have to step back to let people off the train but obviously in the way enough to be the first on. (This is a journey that I have taken quite possibly over a thousand times, and I know where to stand on each platform on this particular journey to minimise the time it takes to get between lines.) People are queuing up either side of me - I walked on to the platform just as the previous train was pulling away, so I got the good spot - and they, too, know where to stand.

Shortly before the train arrives in the station, you can feel the wind blowing down the tunnel. Turning my head towards the direction the wind is blowing from, I narrow my eyes slightly. There is an astounding amount of dust on the Tube system. Right before the train rounds the bend to the platform, you can see the headlights reflected against the wall.

The train rounds the bend, and I close my eyes as my hair flies back from my face and the sound hits me.

For just a moment, I want to turn around and walk away. Get on to any other train, go in any other direction, and to disappear into this city and these millions of people and see where I end up. Go to the airport and get on the first plane going to any destination, anywhere in the world. Leave everything I know, and simply...disappear.

The train stops, the doors open, and I open my eyes.

I'll be home in about 20 minutes. I think pick up a bottle of wine at that Oddbins across the road to go with dinner.

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