Between Three Bridges and Haywards Heath

Filter by

 

AUTUMN, 2008

I spent a lot of 2008/09 going to and from Brighton on the train, on a journey which would last up to two hours. I’d often end up on the last train of the night, making stops at tiny provincial stations.

One night at around 1 am the train was waiting for the line to clear at Three Bridges a dark haired girl with a cheerful round face and my age sat up in the seat In front of me and turned around. It was just the two of us on a two-carriage train, and she started a conversation about how she’d just flown back from visiting her family in Dublin. We made small talk, and I was young and unwordly enough at the time (16) that I didn’t consider any particular motivation for her starting a conversation.

The train was beginning to move forward and left the station quite slowly, Once it had left the town the only light was the squares of amber projected from the train, scanning the embankment alongside the tracks.

….We looked from the window down at the stubble in the field below. As the light framed a patch of weeds the girl began to say how she had fond memories of collecting the dry thistle-heads as a child. We both turned and looked out across the field. I was just think long of what to say, and for a split second my eyes refocused on our reflection in the window. She looked like she was screaming at full volume, her head back and her mouth stretching open, her throat was thick with the air in it and her wide eyes were focused on mine.
I turned to look up at her straight away and she wasn’t in the middle of yawning, just silently looking from the window into the night.
I was lost for words and she smiled politely and continued to look out to the fields. She got off a couple of minutes later and I spent the rest of the journey trying not to catch my own reflection….

Submitted by Khoops, Liminal Ambassador