I write this from my train stop as it’s back to work with a resounding bump this morning. The stop is empty, I’m either incredibly early for the next train or incredibly late for the last one. Either way, I’m sitting here on my own, enjoying the weak morning sun and the cheerful chatter of the birds in nearby trees. It’s a good time to reflect, and prepare for the hustle and bustle of office life again.
I’ve been recently promoted which means I can now have more responsibility and expectation resting on my shoulders. I worked hard for the promotion and know, deep down, I’m capable but sometimes the enormity of the role overwhelms me, especially when I’ve been out of the loop for a few days. I know the second I sit down at my desk I will be expected to perform.
The stop is beginning to fill now with fellow commuters. None of them look particularly enamoured at the thought of another working day. We sit in silence, there is no laughter or excited talk. This is the reality of the grind, the working week. It’s the meat and potatoes, the bringing the bacon home, and other meat related analogies I can’t recall this early in the morning.
The man to my right appears to have a head cold, going by the amount of sniffing. I eye him warily, edging further away from him at every available opportunity. The last thing I need is to get sick and bring it home to Fionnuala and the kids. The lady to my left is skilfully applying make up, with a brush and hand mirror. She looks at her reflected image, seems satisfied, and snaps the mirror shut.
The train pulls in, it’s half empty, which means I get a seat and, even better, a window seat at that. It’s the school holidays which means I don’t have to do battle every morning with thousands of blazer wearing hatchlings for a pew. The men in front of me are talking of an earlier ‘security incident’ on the line. In the bad old days this would have been an incendiary device. We called them ‘bomb scares.’ People were much less politically correct back then.
When I hear of such ‘incidents’ now, though, I immediately think suicide. Some poor soul who has chosen to end their life, alone on a track as a train thunders towards them. The driver sees them and slams on the brakes but it’s too late, it’s always too late. Too late for him to stop, too late for them to step aside, to breathe anew and start afresh. A few paragraphs in the evening papers, a few disgruntled passengers tutting about delays on the line.
I have tasted their fear and imbibed their loneliness. It has never brought me to their final resting place but I walk through the city knowing I am surrounded by others who stand at the edge of the abyss, staring blankly into the void. How many more will make that choice before the day is done. It’s a virus, an epidemic raging through our communities. Life is a killer, it sucks the reason to be, to continue, from our very souls.
I stood by the tracks alone this morning. I chose life. I chose irritating phone calls and unnecessarily long e-mails. I chose interminably dull meetings about nothing in particular where little is agreed. I chose my loved ones, I chose hope and faith.
They chose an end to their pain and suffering, an end to indifference and the apathy of a cruel, relentless world. Who am I to judge as there, but for the grace of God, go I and you. Pray for the lost