The Commute

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by C. K. Hemsworth

  The Commute

  C. K. Hemsworth

  Copyright 2012 C. K. Hemsworth

  The train platform is crowded with the usual crowd of the over tired and over worked, heading home after another day in the city. Slogging away at the computer for hours on end to reach that deadline. Of dealing with people with 'Issues' that seem to blur together so that they all look the same or their 'Issues' are all the same; 'Too poor', 'Too greedy,' 'Don't care,' 'Don't give a crap,' or 'Mine. Mine. Mine.' Working that extra overtime just to get that job done, and for no extra pay, just to show your 'loyalty to the Boss' and 'the firm'. 'No Boss, I don't mind. I don’t have any plans. I don't have any life, except to work my butt off for you, so you can buy the next fancy car to hit the market.'

  The mass of workers await the train that is always late. They check the electronic display board to see how much longer they get to stand shoulder to shoulder, smelly arm pit to smell arm pit, to the over perfumed trying to smother the odours of the other commuters who all need to wash away the sweat of the day from their brow.

  A Cleveland bound train finally pulls in to the central Brisbane station, and they all congregate at the doors, hoping that they are the one to enter first and be able to grab the best seat, any seat will do on some days. Their aching feet throbbing inside the tortured confines of their too tight, sweaty, smelly shoes. A seat next to the window, so I don't have to talk to anybody, just look out the window and ignore my fellow commuters. The ear-buds in the ears to drown out anyone who just might happen to be talking too loudly to someone in another stuffy train, in another crowded city, in another polluted country.

  He turned up the volume of his ipod and opened his black leather brief case his mother had bought him when he started work at the architecture firm. He pulled out his ipad and opened the special program he has been working on in his own private time. Dreaming of the day that he will be able to put his dream into reality.

  He feels the exchange of bodies beside him on the seat, from very smelly, overweight male, pushing him up against the wall of the train, to a more petite figure that smells faintly of a rose garden. He chances a brief glance at her feet, not daring to look at her, even though the scent of her perfume tugs at his senses. She is wearing a pair of black strappy shoes with a small heal that accentuates her small feet, and the bright pink toe nails with the little sparkle of a tiny white crystal on the nail of the big toe. It sparkles up at him daring him to look again. He carefully glanced again, then looked up at her bare legs and her smooth rounded knees, exposed by the skirt that sits above her knees.

  He quickly looked back at his ipad and decides to view the image on it from another angle, allowing the design to rotate slowly on its axis. He senses the young woman's movement beside him, and thinks she is about to leave the train and he doesn't want her to leave his side without a quick look at her face, just to see if she is as pretty as her toes.

  He looked up briefly at her and smiled. She smiled back at him and his pulse did a quick two-step and he caught his breath, “Oh god,” he thought, “she's beautiful”.

  She smiled at him again and spoke. But he hardly hears her over the pounding in his ears from his heart. He then realises it's the beat of the drums coming from his ipod. He pulled the ear-buds from his ears and said, “Sorry, did you say something?”

  “Yes, I did,” she said smiling sweetly at him again. “I just said, 'That's an interesting design you have there'.”

  “Oh,” he stammers, “it's's just something I've been playing with.”

  She leaned closer to him and looked closer at the slowly revolving image. “Well, it looks very interesting.” She pointed at the roof line and asks, “Why is the roof shaped like that?”

  The sweet scent of her perfume wafted gently in to his nose, tickling the fine hairs of his nostrils. He inhaled her perfume deeply then said, “That's because it has six sides. It's called a yurt. I've just put six together in to a kind of circle to enclose the private courtyard. That way every room has its own inside and outside view.”

  “Wow, that's really clever,” she said, smiling up at him again. This time giving him the full benefit of her gleaming smile, that lights up her green eyes and makes them sparkle.

  He heard the drum do another two-step and realised that this time it is his heart beat. “Th-Thank you,” he managed to say.

  The trains loud speaker announced an approaching station and the young woman said, “This is me.” She smiled at him again, then added, “Maybe I'll see you again. 'Bye.” She then stood up and left him staring after her, alone in his seat.

  He realised when she was gone, that he knew nothing about her, and he deeply hoped to see her again. He quickly looked around to see what station the train was just pulling out of. He couldn't wait until tomorrow as she hopped on to his train in the morning at Morningside Station, when he hoped to see her again. He tried to capture the scent of her perfume in the air, but it was soon replaced by the overwhelming odour of fried food, oozing from the sweat of the large man in black and white chefs clothes who had quickly taken her place on the seat beside him.

  “Been on my feet for 12 hours, mate. I just gotta have a sit down for a bit,” the older man said wearily. “Was that your stop?”

  “No,” said Mark. “I was just seeing where we were.” Mark then replaced his ear-buds in his ears and tried to return his attention back to his ipad, but he kept being distracted as he remembered the sound of her voice as she had spoken to him. Her soft voice was almost melodic in its cadence and he wondered where she worked or whether she was a singer. Her pleasant tone of voice and the cadence convinced him she must be a singer.

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