Long days are followed by short nights. It’s a repetitive cycle, draining and seemingly endless.
Once every now and then the silence of the quiet carriage entrances me. Whisking through the doors and trudging up the stairs I feel a little brighter when I see a free seat there. Collapsing into the seat I hang my coat on the hook and glance out the window. It’s the perfect view, just for one. A porthole window. A moving snapshot into the world outside.
It’s darkening out there. A soft rainfall streaking droplets down the glass. A soft roll of thunder rumbles through the sky. A feeling of peace rolls over my shoulders.
Setting up my laptop, ready to work, I can’t help but be distracted. I watch out the window as the last few stragglers run to make the train before the doors finally click shut. The train growls, telling you it’s alive and ready to begin the journey back up the mountains. A moment or so later it jostles a little then steadily disengages from the platform.
As the train moves further from the station the night comes into view, a little blurred by the rain, but I watch as my own private world rolls by beside me. I know everyone else on the train would have the same view (if they bothered to look up from their phones or computers) but my porthole window is my own, even if it’s just for the trip. It’s quiet on the carriage and it seems quiet out there.
A train flickers by, obstructing the view for a moment. But then it’s gone and I can see the buildings pushing by once again. For a while, they’re close. Lit up by rectangle windows on rectangle walls. But then the suburbs appear and the homes are lost in the darkness.
All I can see are the street lights. Glowing yellow. Tree branches Interrupting their light as we speed along. They look like candles, flames tossed in the wind. Or even stars twinkling. I can see the street lights on the other side of the train reflecting back in my window too. They collide together, appear and disappear. They’re definitely like stars. They stretch on as far as I can see, yellow lights, white lights, it’s like we captured the night sky and blanketed ourselves in it.
The train begins to slow as we approach the station. It’s brightly lit full of advertising signs and tired faces. Just like it had done to begin the trip, the train slows with a jostle and an unhappy stop. A few people mill on before it pushes onward. Back into the dark, back into the stars. My porthole window nothing but a snapshot of a moving world drenched in rain and darkness and stars. A tiny fragment of seemingly endless peace in a long day, short night, repetitious cycle.