The Commute

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The Commute Page 3

by C. K. Hemsworth


  Wednesday afternoon Mark managed to get away from work earlier than usual. He headed straight for the Central city train station and joined the cram of commuters rushing home to their loved ones in the hope of having a few minutes in the swimming pool to cool off, or a quick game of cricket with the kids before it got dark. Summer this year had seemed to be lasting forever. The heat and humidity had made the commute into the city and back each day, even more uncomfortable with the trains' air conditioning unable to cope with the mass of sweating bodies crammed into the carriages. It was late March and the days heat was still hovering around the 32 degree mark, and the reprieval of late storms only added to the humidity, and the irritability of the commuters.

  Mark raced aboard the train and threw himself into the window seat so he wouldn't have to get up and let someone out of the window seat who lived closer to the city than he did. He pulled out his ipad and was finishing off the report he was writing on the delays on the building site due to the heat. The construction workers union has insisted that work stop from between 1 and 3pm when the day was at its hottest. There had also been delays due to the damage of unsecured equipment in the previous nights storm, and water had to be pumped out of the foundation pits before work could continue. He had had to attend and inspect the site personally to confirm the reasons for the delays and to try to avert anymore delays from storm damage or rain. The construction crew grumbled and moaned when told they had to ensure all equipment was secured for the night and to cover the pits as best they could against rain. He had returned from the site as sweaty and testy as the construction crew who had to work outdoors in the heat and humidity.

  Mark was glad he was finally heading home to the bay, and the promise of a sea breeze on the back deck of his parents home that overlooked the bay. His parents had bought the home when they had first married and it had only been a small home at the time. Over the years the house had been added to as the family and the families finances had increased. Now with Mark the last to leave home, the house was a lot quieter these days. His three older sisters had all gone off and married and were living around the country. His older brother lived two suburbs away on a small acreage in Gumdale with his wife and two children. But Mark was the only child to have followed in his parents wake and gone in to property. Only Mark wanted to create new buildings, where his parents had made their name in selling property. His father had encouraged his interest by taking his young son along to house sales and showing him what made the properties special. He especially liked to show his son the importance of old buildings and the heritage features that made them special. Mark liked to include some of those special features into his designs and his boss liked what he saw. Which was why Mark was in charge of a construction site at such a young age, especially a design to which he had been a major contributor.

  He was sitting thinking with his report on his lap when he noticed the exchange of bodies beside him on the seat. A faint waft of perfume tickled at his nostrils and his memory, and he inhaled it deeply. He glanced down at the feet and noticed the strappy black shoes and her tiny little toes. The nails were painted a deep red with a tiny sparkling pink jewel on each nail. He inhaled her perfume deeply again and stole a glance at her face.

  “Hi,” she said.

  He quickly pulled the ear-plugs from his ears and replied with a big grin, “Hi.”

  “Not working on your design today?” she asked.

  “No,” he said. “I'm just finishing off a report on a building site I visited today.”

  “Oh, what site is that?” she asked.

  “Out at Nundah station. We're building the multi-purpose complex next to the train station.”

  “Oh,” she said, and paused briefly before adding, “you work for Selfridge, Barnes and Noble.”

  He paused taken aback by her knowing where he worked. “Yes, how did you know?”

  She smiled and replied in her melodic voice, “Good morning, Selfridge, Barnes and Noble. How may I direct your call?”, she giggled.

  He laughed and said, “You answer the phones.”

  She giggled and said, “Of course I do. Well...part time. I wish it was full time. I really like it there, nice air conditioned comfort, and the girls are great. We get on really well, and they even include me in their little 'get-togethers'. I mean, I attend when I can. I also work at my local IGA supermarket when I'm not at SBN.” She giggled again and added, “Sorry, we're not suppose to say that. We're suppose to say Selfridge, Barnes and Noble at all times.”

  “Mr Barnes probably wouldn't mind, he's fairly cool. But Mr Selfridge is very old fashioned and likes things done properly,” he said matter of factly.

  “You know them?” she replied. “Of course you do, silly me. You're a proper architect, of course you would know the big bosses.”

  “Well, not to be invited to their private parties, but I do work a lot with Mr Barnes.” He added somewhat proudly, “He's the head designer for Nundah, and he included some of the detailing I designed.”

  “Wow, I'm impressed,” she replied.

  “Well, I guess it is quite a big deal,” he said with a laugh and felt himself blush. He heard the announcement over the loud speaker for her station and quickly asked, “Hey, what train do you get in the morning?”

  “I'm not working until Friday now,” she said.

  “Okay, Friday then. Can I buy you a drink after work,” he asked hopefully, holding his breath as he waited for her to reply.

  “I'd love to,” she said, gathering her things together and preparing to leave the train. “Outside SBN, I finish at 5.30.”

  “I'll be there,” he said with a big grin, as she stood up and walked to the end of the carriage to depart the train. He watched her walk away from him for as long as he could, her long pony tail swaying as she hopped off the train and walked along the platform. He allowed himself a deep breath and a quiet, “Yahoo,” before quickly burying his head back down and pretending to focus on his ipad.

  “Lucky you,” said a deep voice beside him.

  “Huh,” he said, noticing that the chef he had spoken to previously had taken her place.

  “That pretty young thing. You just got a date with her, didn't you?” he asked.

  “Yeah,” he breathed. “I did.”

  “Lucky you. She's a real looker that one,” the chef said. “What's her name?”

  Mark laughed quietly to himself and said, “I don't know. I forgot to ask.”

  The chef's booming laugh echoed loudly through the carriage, before he loudly announced to the entire carriage, “YOU IDIOT.”

  The End.

  For more stories by C. K. Hemsworth visit


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