The lines intersect, the grid is behind me.

I can see a cast of my own face superimposed on the landscape, an untethered avatar, two-dimensional, flickering on the screen of the train window, perhaps in the vacuum between the double glazing.  I catch myself not quite looking at myself.

“She still works at the Genius Bar.”

“I know.  Ridiculous.”

Brushed steel sky.  Pea green hills, saturated fields.  Reservoirs and moors.

“Said she couldn’t make it, wasn’t worth it as the changeover is Saturday to Saturday.”

“I know, I lied because I like Friday to myself but one in four is not so bad.”

Where am I?  I blink.  My reflection, open-eyed, back at me, a crooked angle.  Seated opposite, the two women talk as though I’m not here.  They are younger than me.  They would think nothing of speaking on the phone in the waiting room, the supermarket, the carriage.  If absolutely necessary I would do so, but you would hear my phone voice.  I would be concise and you might mistake that for terse.  It would be unpleasant all round.  I hear them from either side as though I am between them now, as though I am part of their conversation.

“Yeah.  I’ll just be glad to get there, get out of town for a while.”

“The description said it was pretty minimal…”

“A bed, a fire, some coffee, some wine… it’s all I really need.”

Between strangers, between stations, between leaving and arriving, I flicker in and out, gaining, losing focus while beneath me, the lines intersect, track after track, the rhythm setting melodies loose in my head, straining at my lips.

Tonight, I find myself sitting in front of a brick wall.  The lines intersect, the grid is behind me, every brick in its place.  I arrived, unpacked my case and already I’m dreaming of leaving.  Just to get of town for a while.  A bed, a fire, some coffee, some wine… it’s all I really need.

 

Eleanor Friedberger

The Eagle Inn

Salford

Thursday, 4th February 2016

 

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