Have you ever thought, when you find yourself alone in a carriage on a late train, are carriages ever really empty? Who knows what the previous occupants have left behind? A half-empty packet of crisps. An empty bottle. Maybe even an item of clothing along with the ubiquitous umbrella. But maybe they left something else – A piece of themselves forever trapped by the closing doors. Too late to leave having missed the shrill whistle and the wave of the flag. A lost moment of elsewhere thought that caused them to stay beyond their stop.
I wonder, is it only me and my reflection that stare both ways at the darkened world outside the glass or are others unwillingly sharing our glimpses of occasional lights passing outside the empty carriage. In truth, does anyone ever really leave the train at the end of the journey? Or do we all continue to travel within the carriage whilst believing we have an existence outside; in a place called work and somewhere else called home. Are we souls forever condemned to travel to and fro… Coulsdon North and back, day upon day. Nights disturbed by the maintenance crew who wander the carriage like ghosts in a dim reality of artificial light. And when the train is retired to rest, will we also reside in the museum – reflections dimming as dust settles on the glass? Or will our reflections and ourselves disappear with the wiping of the attendant’s cloth?
Did someone brush past you as you boarded the empty carriage – or did you just imagine them?