I spat out a few muffled curses as I trudged up the stairs of the train station, my thick winter jacket zipped to the brim. Man, it was freezing. I wouldn’t be surprised if my pubes had turned into icicles by now. The sun needed to hurry its arse up and come out, for fuck’s sake.
After reaching the top of the stairs and making my way down to the platform, I scanned my SmartRider at the ticket machine, and sat down on one of the cold, hard metal seats to wait for the train. Eight minutes. Could be worse.
I cast a quick glance at my surroundings, quickly picking up on a few familiar faces, even if I’d never talked to them. There were a couple of guys dressed in suits and carrying briefcases, some women wearing expensive-looking dresses and caked in makeup, and a bunch of people around my age carrying backpacks and tapping away on their phones.
It was a pretty varied collection of individuals, but with one common denominator: they all looked fucking miserable.
It made me wonder if I’d end up the same once I graduate uni. Even now, every day is the same old routine: I’d get up at six, smash out a quick breakfast with a side of Red Bull, trek it ten minutes to the bus, then take a fifteen-minute bus ride to the train station. If everything went smoothly and there were no service interruptions, I’d make it just in time for my eight o’clock class.
That last bit never failed to get a rise out of me, and I’ll always curse to depths of Hell whatever sadistic bastard decided that eight A.M. lectures were a good idea. Wasn’t one of the best things about uni the fact that you could whenever you want? Why torture both yourself and your students by making everyone rock up at eight in the fucking morning – in the middle of fucking winter?
I furrowed my brows and plugged in my earphones, then pressed the play button on my iPhone. When no music came on, my heart stopped.
With a speed I haven’t exhibited since that time the teacher nearly caught me putting porn on my friend’s computer at school, I whipped out my phone and stared at it, only to be met with a black screen. Heart racing, I held the power button, and then a second later, a picture of an empty battery came up.
“Ahh, fuck,” I muttered under my breath, my lip curling in disdain. Either I didn’t charge it properly last night, or the charger was fucked.
This was bad- no, this was a disaster. Of calamitous proportions.
The only thing that made the hour-and-a-half-long train ride manageable was being able to chill out and listen to music before taking on whatever bullshit the day decided to fling at me. Now that my phone was dead, all I could do to pass the time was listen to my thoughts – which scared the ever-loving fuck out of me most of the time – or listen to other people ramble about menial crap that had nothing to do with me.
By the time the train arrived, I was still freaking out internally, but I managed to put on a brave enough face to hobble on board and scurry to a seat in the corner, at the very end of the carriage. Whether it was in a classroom, a restaurant, a train, or anything, really, I always preferred sitting at the back and in the corner, where I could both see everything that was going on, and have the best chance of avoiding talking to people.
Fortunately, the train wasn’t packed just yet; that’d happen the closer we got to the city. It was still reasonably populated, though.
As I sat down, I felt my arse chafe against my jeans, and I bit back another curse.
Fuck, I hate jeans. I hate that they’ve become so socially acceptable, you have no choice but to wear them unless you want people to think you’re a dero.
I wear the bloody things because I want to look good, but man do I hate how they feel. Weren’t they originally designed to be used by miners because of their durability? How did we go from that to this?
They’re not comfortable.
They restrict your mobility.
It’s damn near impossible to crouch down to tie your shoes, so you have no choice but to bend over and risk pulling your arm out of its socket.
You can’t even scratch your balls properly because the material gets in the way.
I’ve never worn skinny jeans, but I imagine those bastards are even more of a pain.
Nothing about wearing jeans is fun, so why on Earth did people start wearing them so much it became the norm?
I rubbed my temples with my thumb and middle finger. I needed to calm down; getting aggravated this early in the trip wouldn’t do me any good.
I needed to do something productive, but what?
After a few seconds of fruitless searching, my eyes trailed to my bag, then lit up. That’s it! I could look at some of those readings my tutors make us do that no one actually does.
I had a bunch of textbooks in my bag that I’d only used once or twice, when I needed references for my assignments, but other than that, they’ve been a colossal waste of money. It was especially shitty of that one tutor to charge us for an essential textbook that he himself wrote. Egotistical prick.
I reached down to my bag, which was at my feet, when my nostrils caught a whiff of something dodgy. Out of morbid curiosity, I smelled it again, only to inhale an otherworldly scent that sent me reeling. It was like an unholy mix of spoiled milk, rotten fruit and manure. The sickening sensation of nausea welled up in the pit of my gut.
Where the fuck was that smell coming from, and why the fuck was it on the train?
Against my better judgement, I tracked the source. Unfortunately, it didn’t take long to find it.
About two metres to the right of me, in the middle of the floor, was a sizeable splotch of some bubbly white liquid that had long since dried up, with what looked like small pebbles scattered atop it. My head started spinning, and I swallowed my vomit.
I needed to switch seats.
I moved to stand up, but before I could, the train’s doors opened and a veritable army of people stormed in, making my eyes bulge. Already? Fuck!
I tried to make a run for it, but was flung back into my seat after bouncing off some big guy whose girth was like that of a Biggest Loser reject.
Within seconds, the entire carriage had filled up. A few people voiced their complaints about the stench, and a few other people voiced their agreement, but it ultimately amounted to nothing.
I sunk deeper in my seat and pulled my collar up past my nose. Tears pricked at the corners of my eyes, but I blinked them away. That did nothing to quell the queasiness in my stomach, though.
For the next hour or so, I was trapped. We all were. And there was nothing any of us could do about it except sit and bear it – or stand, if you were one of the unlucky buggers who missed out of getting a seat.
I ran a hand through my onyx locks, cursing my current circumstances. Could this day get any worse?
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