Condensation drips down the scratched windows of the warm train as passengers struggle to keep their eyes open. An old man, dressed in beige pulls his bright red anorak tightly as the train doors whoosh open and the draft is sucked in. He is holding a woman’s hand tightly. She wears a smart, straight chocolate coat and sits up tidily. They sit in comfortable silence. As she draws her hand away, his stays locked, claw-like in the same position.
“’Ave we got all the Christmas presents nahw?” she asks, half looking out the window at the graffitied factories and rows of identical houses. Then they go back to silence.
The passengers are made to dance as the train plays the tracks like a thudding xylophone. As it comes into the station, the man looks up sharply, coughs and wipes his nose.
A passenger’s ipod blares out a high-pitched racket. They both look round.
"Just gimme the light"
“ ‘is ipod. Bop, bop, bop in ‘is ear”
Turning round again, they talk in hushed tones.
The train drowns them out as it powers on to its destination past barbed wire and dreary factories.
The woman begins to look tired and grey except for the shiny buckles on her shoes and the gold clip in her hair. She blinks heavily, succumbing to the cozy warmth and steady rocking of the train. The man’s hand rests in place, waiting for hers to return as his eyes glaze over. His lips are pursed in a half-smile+ All that can be heard now is the munch, munch of someone eating a sandwich and the whizzing as a train passes swiftly by.