So, what about Glastonbury or some small village in Vietnam where the brutality is glazed over with warm spirituality and the illusion that the real world occurs in the in the other side of the planet?
Utter and obvious rubbish, of course, but this is the nature of the story.
It is as if each and every idea that dribbles out of the end of her cheap fountain pen is certain to be the wrong one. Inaccuracies, frauds, mistakes, miscalculations, or misinterpretations, all cheap ones picked up at railway station kiosks, airports but only one ferry crossing. That was in the midwinter, took hours full of sickness.
At least that self-diagnosis turned out to be correct.
Anyway, there is a an attractive woman in the carriage of the train adjacent to her’s, stopped like this one at the platform. Willing the other train to move. She is. I want her to move away, silently, rapidly and definitely.
This is another reason to keep travelling, not falling in love.
Having lived for many years with a woman she loved and who loved her back, it became clear that the responsibility for conversation and the pursuit of mutual interest terminates during the separation that occurs under one roof. Freedom versus Love. Mutual interest versus Mutually Exclusive Self-Interest. Squeezing the toothpaste versus leaving the teabag on the side. Mundane intrigue versus getting down the shops in order to get the teabags and the toothpaste.
Surely it’s time for her train to move along now because that attractive woman is gazing back, although she might simply be gazing at her own reflection, it’s a bright day after all.
The woman in the train heading south looked to be in her early thirties but who can tell? She may well have been a pre-teen dolled up with all the latest Internet training. Then again, she may have been 90 and the same. One way or the other she was attractive.
Her train is moving, at last. So maybe all that memory of love can be replaced by the reality of freedom from sentiment. Love is the freedom from the search for love.
“The two standard class passengers who approached me outside the dining car, can they kindly and immediately join me in the dining car.” It’s an order from the Entertainments Manager or whatever he’s called. The train will not move north until those two entirely standard class passengers have acquiesced.
They walk past.
“You were late. You were fucking late and you have all this foreign money and it’s all bullshit and I’m sick of it,” says the woman.
“It’s chilling, it’s all good. It’s Euros,” the man responds, following her and swaying a little to the sounds in his headphones. He smells as fresh as artificial cotton essence or bio-spheres full of summer field flowers.
“Thank you, thank you,” she says, calming down and taking her free hand.
The adjacent platform is now full of new people waiting for their journeys to begin – they all move sideways as her own train pulls out.
She is dozing off. She is tired and full of sandwich made with a spectacularly exotic bread; cost-effected by sustainably brown according to the packet, and tuna flakes. It was horrible.
Lots of people want that food though. They tend on opposite sides of the food queue. On one side, the very hungry, the very rushed, and on the other the companies and the staff of the companies that sustain the vinegary crap.
This is not turning into a comfortable trip from airport to airport to a new place to live. The idea was to fly off, stop off, buy stuff, fly again, land, relax, start afresh, smile as if I have good natural teeth and a liking for the good things in life. It’s turning into falling in love for the very first time in a very real way and having internal debates about tuna, love, sustainability, and freedom.
Jesus Lord on toasty pine but she wishes they would turn the heating down. She didn’t come back to England in October to be sweated down like a sheep wrangle in the Melbourne in October.
She dozes as the engine pulls the carriage train on a dull Wednesday afternoon around three o’clock through the deathly green, unintentionally homely – okay, shabby – suburb counties of London.
The rain starts coming down about an hour into the trip, just after she’s ordered a coffee from the lad who didn’t believe that she should be in First Class.
She wonders where the woman on the other train is now. She misses her, or the spectre of love that she represented. She starts to read the newspaper.
The train moves on.