The Abandoned Station

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Here's a Thought

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Station Noise

 

 

I'm trying to hear you above everything.

We are in a place that has everything, and I think I am about to crack into five thousand pieces if I don't feel the touch of your hand in thirty seconds.

And that's what's getting in the way. Everything and everything else.

I push all the people over to find you again. The limbs and the clothes that hang and bunch around them flailing and collapsing into colourful heaps. The smell of sweat and breath and farts and tears. The senses collapsing together into calm disfunction. What makes a person is being redefined as I cut up the words and meanings in an effort to come back around to you.

Past the fancier food court, with the iron patio chair and table sets for the cafe that serves fresh croissants and other pastries, but also doing paninis. Between and above the rows of stores, both familiar chains for electronics or parting gifts and more one-off shops and services for travel insurance, shoe-shining, luggage lugging, duty-free, and tourist bookings.

There are lines that snake through all of us, not really sure if I'm secretly in the line of people looking for you. Maybe it's all one line for everything for everyone, and none of us know what we’re truly waiting for.

I've left sporting events and concerts and even had to leave a friend's apartment building down a fire escape when flames swallowed the top three floors.

But those crowded, claustrophobic jostlings ultimately came to an end.

This seems to be the way of things at the moment. The laws of the universe crossing its fingers behind its back at this terminal singularity. Getting lost in the ideas, sinking into a fifteen year alternative memory with the turn of your head and one neural slip.

(I have always been here I have always maintained an office in this part of town I just thought it was the right thing to do considering the type of traffic that can slow down getting from point A to point B the types of obstacles and delays that always seem to manifest themselves just a bit differently with every sunrise it's as if there were plans inside plans and I just got sick of it and so my basic necessities are right here in the room next to my purpose and so when it gets to that busy time of year with the family and friends pulling you every which way as you keep your mind on your money and your money on your mind I still have the energy to shuffle over and sit behind the desk and make the kinds of decisions that are expected of me with a nod of the head and without a single system error)

Having to duck in through the gates because they almost caught us. Our logins weren't in order, something about a ping, a delay. Of course they weren't in order. They were completely made up. And it would have been the end, either a pair of cuffs or plastic wristbands and several grey windowless rooms (some on wheels) until you're let back out where you started from.

I was amazed we made it this far. I know we aren't the only ones, but you don't dare make lingering, desperate eye contact with another, hoping they're in the same slowly crumbling situation as you.

Because if they're not, then that's the turn into a concrete wall. And you've both seen too many people putting their hands up and placing them on those towering, endless monuments to denial, refusal and the flashing big red no.

Eventually everything is a crime. Even having a heartbeat in the wrong place. But sometimes you have to get that checked out and of course there's an entire medical wing here, 'round that corner and down that escalator but make sure your health card number isn't expired and your fingerprints aren’t too dirty otherwise there'll be quiet lights following you like an airport runway at night.

(you can trust me I'm a Doctor the type of doctor that tries to leave their prejudices at home in the car at the door buried deep within the circuits of my phone always pressed against my coat pocket but it's not so simple this isn't a simple issue so of course I have complex feelings when this person or that person comes in and wants the sort of help that goes beyond a pill or shining the other pocket's meagre and opinion-less flashlight in eyes and ears and throat just to acknowledge that yes you too are a person are alive are capable of great and terrible things are clutching papers that might turn into plastic are dangerously running so that you might safely stop but don't ask me for a single thing extra like another check mark there or a positive comment here or the ol' switcheroo of medicine B for patient A or anything that takes the target off you and somehow on to me and I know that's what they want what they need I see them with the fake names as the people waiting not even in the waiting room like it's called but in the hallway or even the main concourse where it doesn't even look like a line can possibly exist among the hot crush of people swirling slowly like magma here for what feels like life but if every little bit can help then every little bit can hurt you can't have it always one way)

It seemed so long ago that we were running. At least when you run it feels tangible, it feels like everything was set up for this one ordeal, that when the dust settled and the breathing went back to normal, it would be over, you would be in the three cities boundary, the infamous 'they' wouldn't be able to follow you after that.

Running with your eyes screamingly open and then walking with your head as far down as possible. Better they think you're a broken old fart who's too out of touch or feeble to even try and game the system. Cross your fingers that they'll just let you alone to shuffle off and die quietly without getting anywhere near their self-entitled slice of the pie.

Looking old. Looking young. Looking at yourself in the mirror and wondering. Wondering if it was really a mirror or some sort of window to the past or future. Wondering if it was just a simulation in a detention centre and this whole charade was just to make me say one particular name or weird then everything turns off with a barely discernible click.

But I was real. I knew that.

You were real. I knew that, even if you weren't completely sure.

And if anywhere was real it would be here, where everything is played for keeps, because the trains beyond the gates pass in and out like fortune and fury. Mercy and damnation. A quiet life in the suburbs and a screeching existence in the prison slums.

Yet we can't stay here.

Can't treat the temporary like the eternal.

Just passing through. Just getting your possibly fake cards in line and your well-photocopied papers in order. Roll the dice of life and hope the machine has some glitches that tilt in your favour or that the inspector is having a bizarrely wonderful day or is thick as a brick and easily flattered.

And my breathing sells short and panic is setting in as I realize that every step in one direction might inadvertently take my next step away from wherever you might be. But then as the over-capacitated crowd miraculously parts like a multicoloured Red Sea I realize it's not just your absence that is causing my meltdown.

The forces are coming through. The faceless. A crude nickname that everyone knows about (even them), but everyone pretends they don't.

The way their black tinted visors hang all the way down from where the helmet ends at the forehead to the tip of the nose and scowling mouth show and nothing else. To protect them. Obviously.

(There are rules and I know what I sound like I know what shape it makes my mind but there are rules and it's these rules that have sustained us and yes rules change but they can only bend so much they can't break if we take in too much suffering at once we can't remove it and the same suffering falls upon us as well those are just the cold hard facts and it's cold I'm cold I'll cop to that I'm so very cold but it's to keep us all from burning up my heart is stone but that's so it won't crack in two when trampled on it's not hate it's not fear it's acknowledging our limits so we don't start driving along the road paved with good intentions straight into hell) 

I thought I saw you and I ran as carefully as possible. Too not attract any sort of attention. Everyone rushes here of course but there's even an art to that. A numb, goal-oriented sort of panic is allowed and nothing more. Something to compliment the station noise.

But it's not you, it's someone else. The hair, the height, the clothes, it all shook with similarity for a fleeting desperate moment in my eyes. I want to go back to where I was, closer to the northwest stairway, so I could possibly walk up them and look down upon one of the concourse sections and maybe spot you from above.

There’s pushing against the sea of people, though, throngs rushing away from where I once stood. And only through a murmuring of words from all around do I understand why. They caught a family of four near the stairways and escalators that led to the eastern railway lines. Barcodes for ID didn't match barcodes for tickets, a strange differential in activation times. Hands without colour tearing at their clothes and skin. Behind a visor and bulletproof glass. Behind reason and compassion.

Something like that. Rumours on top of rumours. No shock or horror. The stories we've all heard before. Filtered through personal experience and familial anecdotes.

I go around back to another stairway and began to push into another throng of faces and coats. Passing the large statute of someone who I'm suppose to recognize. Someone who's name would be on the tip of my tongue if I make a couple more circuits through here with a calmer heart.

Then I see someone I do know.

There you are. Yes you. In a makeshift clearing, surrounded by the imposing them. On your knees in plastic wristbands, head bowed in exhaustion. Finally you can stop running, but for all the wrong reasons.

I freeze but it doesn't seem like it because everyone else is moving and jostling away. Without moving a muscle or unlocking my gaze I'm floating in a sea of people. I want to collapse but there's no room. I want to fight but I can't even raise my fists. The mass of people say with their feet that we're all just passing by. This incident will be filled away and forgotten like all the other incidents.

I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I'm so fucking sorry. I lost you and then you lost the only thing which may as well be everything. I'm sorry. My hands weren't made for this. For keeping you close. I feel like if I had a purpose it was to come here and see you get taken away. Before an untold amount of minutes before I'm inevitably taken away. Like this was a long and winding trap right from the beginning. That we all come here to get caught. Foolish moths to an impenetrable flame.

I am falling down stairs with a dozen other people. I am hearing new orders buzzing over the intercom. I am desperate for a cool drink and a warm bed. I am reducing years and years of our lives into eight key snapshots. I am being held down and fucked by the future. I am holding something over my eyes and ears like I don't want to know. I am inside the station noise.

 

 

END

 

 

END

A corpse never lies, but others will lie on its behalf