It was a fine, cloudless day in march, and the first sunlight fell upon the wet and cold earth. The day before was frigid and still much winter, but now the world was given an early glimpse of spring.
For many people the day had started, and, as if awakened from hibernation by the brilliant sun, they went about their business seemingly more cheerful and determined. The light glistened in the windows of the cars, and it looked like the light came not from without but within, and many people wore sunglasses and clothes that appeared more colorful in the sunshine. And all this he, Alan Fielding, watched. He watched it as he sat on a train, and he felt that he was the private observer of this spectacle, felt that he was the audience.
This train he took every workday, and it took him to school. He always called it school and never the university.
He sat leaning with his shoulder against the window, looking out. He had kept his jacket on. He rubbed his eyes, his blue eyes, which were moist and crusted around the sides. The train had left the city and the suburbs and was now riding through farmland.
He often experienced these train rides in a sort of haze, not exactly remembering what he had seen, and when he and the other commuters reached the terminus, he would rouse out of his daydreaming state confused and uncertain of where he was.
But that day in march was not one of those days. That day he was not alone for the entirety of the ride. Sometimes he would meet fellow students on the train. He would call them friends when asked, but not many did he consider true friends and some of them he downright disliked.
The train reached the next station. The thumping sound of the engine slowed down. People were getting off; a girl walked by and Alan could smell the fruity fragrance of her perfume. Other people got on the train, among them his friend. The new faces, some of them familiar, looked about for a place to sit. His friend sat down opposite of him, they greeted each other. Their conversations always went the same way: First they would speak of school; their classes, the work they had to do. The next topic would be what they had done the evening before, what they had seen on television. And then their conversation would falter and there’d be a long quiet.
Normally these daily rituals bored Alan, but with the nice weather came a newfound energy. That day he did not mind the mindless small talk, did not mind waiting for the train, waiting for the teacher to arrive, waiting for the class to end, for the next class to begin. No, not that day. That day was a fine day, and he’d remember it as the last time he was truly happy.
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