Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Welcome Aboard the Ride of the Relative Midnight

10:55pm. I was on my way home from university, and I realised that I left my Star Wars:Traitor book in the Multimedia Lab. Not in a particular mood to do my academic readings, I spent the ride home on the LRT merely observing people.

These are the fruits of my thoughts.

A man sat down, arms folded across his white-shirted chest. His head leaned against the glass panel, wearying away to a short nap. He seems preoccupied, almost despondent, even in apparent sleep. His brows creased. I wonder what thoughts are running through his head. Perhaps he is thinking about his job. Maybe about his girlfriend. Could be that his family is giving him grief.

Perhaps, maybe, could be.

Whatever.

Across on the other side, a baby's scream wailed its way throughout the train. All heads, concious or otherwise, instinctively flick in that direction, hailed and deemed an audience by a baby.

The man grumbled silently, and turned away.

The trained slowed to a stop. The warm night air worked its way through along with the people as the door swooshed open. An old man came on board. He carries with him a school bag, lightly packed. His white hair and glasses makes him look much older than he probably is, though I reckon he's pretty old. Then again, what do I know?

I motion for him to have my seat, and stood up, erect like a soldier called to attention by his commanding officer. Except that a soldier doesn't carry a black bag that he slings over his shoulder (maybe). And he isn't (usually) ordered to sit back down, the old man refusing my kind gesture. "My stop is only a couple of stations away," he said in Malay.

I nodded, and smiled.

The woman next to me. Smartly dressed, professional looking, almost aloof. She crossed her legs, using it as a pad against which her notepad rested. She is writing.

Rare that, these days, in the LRT.

I looked over. Her eyes were in rapture, concentrating hard. Her black hair fell across her face, prompted by the swaying of the train. She held the pen with one hand, and with the other, quickly swept it back across her head. She continued writing. The whiff of perfume is strong. I don't know what brand it is, but it smells nice.

It always does.

I feel inspired (not because of the perfume, mind you). So I took out my own notepad and started writing a 'stream of conciousness', the contents of which I won't reveal here.

Another stop. I no longer took notice of time and place. It no longer matters to me as I shot down every single thought that came into my head (or try to). I only realised where I was when an old lady staggered into view. I looked up, and got up.

She refused the seat. Not even a word, just a shake of the head.

I sat back down and continued writing.

I wrote for 20 minutes, and got through 3 pages. In the end, I have a hard time reading my own handwriting. But that's OK. It's not the reading that I'm looking for, it's the writing.

It's liberating.

My stop came too soon.

And so did the goodbye.

5 comments:

Fikri said...

The first time I'm the first commentor on my own post. Now I know what KL feels like. It's nice here :>

KL said...

Duh! that's cheating Fikri - you can't get the feeling that I do :-) :-).

Really a well written piece. While reading, I was almost transported into that train and visualize and smell and hear everything.

not william said...

describe the smell..

Fikri said...

To KL: First past the post, mon amie. :>

To Billy Boy: It's nice. Not the nicest of all time, but nice. What else can I say? :>

not william said...

dont lie fikri, i bet you took a whiff when she was too engrossed in her writing. haha.