The moon is starkly white, the sky is pitch
black, and in this night of contrasts the station is filled with shadows - or
maybe they are people - all merging into each other, each too caught up in
their world to realise it. And as they pass in silence, each says not a word -
and each dances to a tune of their own hearing - each mind caught up in a
vortex of their own. But their stories go untold, are they being rewritten as
we sit here?
But they don't matter at all to us.
Perhaps now we should narrow our stage - you see, there, on that grey stone bench, below the lamp that doesn't work, a young man and a girl sit in the shadows, waiting for the next train. They were here last week as well - not that they look like the same couple. Then, she had blushed, giggling as he whispered into her ear and drew her into his arms. He couldn't take his eyes off her, as if unable to believe she was his to hold. His gaze followed her as she spoke to her friends, as she spoke, and she glowed, conscious of his eyes on her - thrilled to be the one he was looking at. They'd teased, flirted, wrapped in a private bubble no-one else could pop. Today, they don't seem a couple anymore - just a boy, and a girl, sharing a bench - but, see, they steal glances at each other, unsure of what to say, or perhaps how to say it. Their eyes meet often - but there isn't a sparkle anymore - only questions, that neither can read - or perhaps neither can answer.
She doesn't seem to know what to do - and he doesn't seem to know how to tell her. They've spoken maybe once, or twice - necessary murmurs - having forgotten the time of endless sweet conversations, and rambling stories. Announcements ring out into the night, as though to fill the void between them and all the travellers at the station leave their cocoons for a half a minute, to listen. He seems to need to check something - yes, see, he stands, squeezing her hand to reassure her - he's left his luggage, so he must be returning. She gazes after him, longing desperation on her face - but he'll not see that - he's looking ahead, not behind. The stone bench seems more gray than ever - colder, harder - with only her slim figure occupying it. She realises it too, wrapping her arms around herself, cursing her inability to articulate her thoughts in a way he'll understand.
But look! The lamp above her has suddenly flickered on! And see, there, from the intangible plethora of people a man has taken a seat next to her, distinguishing himself by entering her carefully drawn chalk circle. The man says something - it's not our place to know what - but she sits up a little straighter. Slowly, a smile transforms her face. A few moments of conversation later, a peal of laughter can be heard - the first that has graced the stone bench tonight. The two seem engrossed in their conversation and a sparkle has entered her eyes once more, as she playfully parries his onslaught of words. In another few minutes he's left, and she's still sitting, smiling to herself.
When her young man returns, she flashes him
a bright smile. He is a little disconcerted. We don't know if he still adores
her. We don't even know whether she still loves him or not. We don't know if
they'll go back to how they were last week. We don't know what made them change
so very drastically. Perhaps even they don't know any of these things. And
no-one knows what will happen to them once they board the train which has just
come in. But just before they step towards the train, she looks back and
catches the eye of a young man in the crowd. They both smile slightly, as she turns
and boards with a lilt to her step which came from the little gift a veritable
stranger had unexpectedly given her.
A little conversation, a little attention. She'd only needed to feel wanted.
The lights flash, the sounds of the rushing train fill the steamy night air and all the busy shadows move forward, taking on different shapes, sizes and colours in the station's bright white light. The couple sitting on the bench won't be remembered, and the young man who appeared so suddenly, has vanished. But you might remember, and he might remember, and she will remember. So, maybe, just maybe, their stories have a purpose, after all.
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