Here I am, swaying on the inbound train.
The seat warm from someone else, tea in styrofoam, personal space invaders and noisy conversations.
Rushing from meeting to meeting.
I should be preparing but instead, I’m daydreaming, looking out
At woodlands and slumbering trees, muddy fields and blasted oaks, sheep and horses clumping in the gorsey heath.
And catching glimpses of strangers’ lives – peering into homes and gardens,
And whizzing past passengers waiting at stations, caught in the space between leaving and arriving.
I should be reading the agenda but I’m thinking back to journeys gone.
Could I have imagined myself thus all those years ahead?
I think I thought, deep down, that life stopped with marriage and babies.
What would I have thought at twenty-one?
All those train journeys we took
From Chichester to Southampton to Salisbury to Neath to Kingston to Hove.
What if I’d looked at a woman, older, a proper grown up, staring out of the window day dreaming and known it was me?
What happened to all those years?
The gaps grew between hopes and reality, between plans and fate.
The same face is reflected in the glass,
Just older, plumper, the hair coloured but not for fun,
The smart office clothes I longed for then and loathe now.
The yearning to be at home creating and the job which pays the bills.
But across the gap the linked hands reach out from those barely remembered days.
The journeys I took with Deb and Mo, laughing on the train, imagining our futures.
How could we have envisaged me in the far off middle years, sitting on a train
Messenging them in their small corners far away –
The gap traversed by magic.
Copyright 2016 by Paula Harmon. All rights belong to the author and material may not be copied without the author’s express permission