Daily Observations

Finalist in the 'Written in the Stars 2013' competition

The train races along. Through the window I glimpse houses, factories and wall art, the art is vibrantly displayed over the backs of buildings. The smell of sweat hangs in the air, everyone is so close, and we are squished shoulder to shoulder. The atmosphere is oppressive; I cannot wait until the next station when this carriage will unload and like every other day, half of the passengers will exit and make their way to their afternoon destinations. The tone sounds and the train slowly pulls up at Mitcham Station. I am pushed and bumped; my bag is tugged by the frantic passengers who are eager to get off the train. It’s only then that I notice the remaining passengers and can now see them as people not just an overwhelming mass of bodies. There is a middle aged man who looks like a labourer of some kind, he wears a bright yellow coat and has greasy unkempt hair with a rats tail dangling down the centre of his back. My sense of smell tells me that he is responsible for the unpleasant odour. Sitting down at a window seat is a woman who looks to be in her early 30’s; I notice that she only has one thumb on each hand. I find myself wondering how it is that she has this impairment, perhaps she had been a car accident; or maybe after a hiking expedition in the Himalayas she fell victim to frostbite, or just maybe she was born this way. My attention is then focused on a boy who just stepped onto the train wearing dark sunglasses; he is holding a Rubik's cube. He starts the puzzle and I commence counting in my head. He completes it when I reach number 58, impressive. I glance at two Asian women sitting on the floor speaking in their foreign tongue, while they sip their “up and go.” A heavily tattooed woman sits in a singular passenger seat while fiddling with her tongue piercing, making an annoying sound as it clicks against her teeth. A mother and her two young daughters squeeze into two seats, the mum’s face speaks about lack of sleep and stress, her eyes are droopy and blood shot. Everyone has their story; you can’t judge a book by its cover. I find myself echoing my mum’s words and I realise again that it’s what’s beneath a person’s appearance that counts the most. Each of these people has their own story to tell and I find myself on a daily basis whilst making this journey asking just what that tale is. Thinking about this makes me wonder about how other people see me.

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