Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Tobacco Warehouse

It was cool because afterwards, when we headed home, the sun was going behind some clouds and we were swimming on our out-of-focus words. It was all unfocused by then, I mean it was always unfocused like the lens of a camera was distracted by something close-up or far-off.
We rode the train ten minutes before the sun showed itself again. When it did it shined delicately through the windows. I sat facing you. You said 'What stop we getting off at?'
'Waterloo,' I said.
'That's fine,' you said.
'Yes,' I said. 'I'll get there, my friend loneliness.'
'It's warm today.'
'Weather's fine. It's the people you gotta watch.'
'I'd rather not watch them,' you said. You folded your arms and stared out of the window, the light bristling off your face. The morning Summer light highlighted your facial features and you looked like someone else, like a child.
'I could do with a smoke,' I said.
'Didn't know you smoked,' you said.
'When we get back let's go the beach.'
'In the morning?'
'It'll be fun.'
'You're mad,' I said.
'Come on, it'll be empty round this time.'
'The beach is empty all the time,' I said. 'Anyway, I'm too tired with work.'
'Oh come on, what happened to wanting to be young again?'
'I grew up.'
'You only said that a couple of hours ago.'
'I grew up since then.'
'We're going the beach.'
'Peter Pan never went the beach.'
'Yes he did. He lived near the ocean.'
'Well this city is near the Irish sea, not the ocean. And fine, I'll go the beach. I'll like to smoke there, it'll be cool.'
I sweated underneath my workclothes. You looked at me and looked away and then I looked out the window, watching the world wipe past my eyes. An English boy like me doesn't see everything, only what I see, and even then I can't do anything with it but see it. Admire it and walk on. I saw a girl working in a cake shop today. I thought of her making cakes for a living. Eat your work, I'd say to her.
'Would you want to get off here?'
'Here? No. I don't live here.'
I'm sure you got younger on the train. I felt the distant change in people's bodies; all of a sudden bodies no longer seemed beautiful, they were just things. Like my toothbrush or socks. People own socks like they own their bodies, no one shares toothbrushes. I looked at you and liked you.
The sounds of the train were so clear, so loud and fast. The empty and lost feeling of locomotion and impending arrival to at least somewhere was a feeling always there. Something always always going to happen, but never never arriving. You stared for a long time out of the window, you sniffed once and I watched your eyes flicker from one moving tree to another. You were as immature as me sometimes. No one could touch you as we passed the Tobacco Warehouse on the docks to the West.

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