A red bag with the logo ‘reusing makes me happy’ is on my lap, inside my gym gear. I’m sitting in a carriage, waiting at Cleveland Station; departure time 11am. Still seven minutes to go, I fidget. Cupped in my right hand my iPhone’s music library. Ella Hooper is singing Everything Was A Sign.
The all station train warms its engine, my mood swings low high, following the beat. I fill up on sound, blocking out the sorrow nestled somewhere back of my thoughts. The train jerks forward, closer to Fitness First in the city, as my mind edges a little toward acceptance.
A chapter is ending I think as I glance about. A sign above me reads ‘Please refrain from loud music and mobile devices.’ I ignore the warning and turn up the volume, earphones planted firmly in ears. I sigh relieved by the music, and start to hum.
The carriage is quiet. I stare out the window beyond, at the endless service stations, mini supermarkets and used car dealers. Welcome to Queensland I grin to myself. Brilliant one day, perfect the next. Where a new car deal is only a phone call away.
The train slows, pulling up at Thornside Station, the track stops as my heart skips. A young greasy haired kid sits facing me playing Casino on his mobile. He looks unlucky I think half-out-loud. Where are his parents? To my left a gentleman with a bushy bushranger’s beard stretches and yawns. I notice he’s carrying a environmentally friendly bag. The bag is empty. Another day, another journey for him. But, who gave him that green bag I wonder?
On my way to the gym, alone. I remind myself over again that it’s important to continue routine in times of hardship…what else can you do? The end? A mother’s love evaporating, going somewhere else. While, I’m sat on the Cleveland line. Yes, on the Cleveland Line everything is a sign I think.
My thoughts are interrupted. A man steps on board, sweaty from the Queensland sun, wearing a tight-fitted C.F.M.E.U T-shirt that declares ‘united we stand!’ Next train station Wynnum North is announced over head. Change of thought…The city must still be some distance then?
My phone buzzes, a message pops up – Going to Barba Friday? Use this code and get a 25 % off entry at Coverlid Place. I swipe the message away and set my focus straight ahead. The union man looks me squarely in the eye, then opens a book on the Cuban Revolution. He puts on dark rim glasses and begins to read, looking up again at the next stop. Yes, I think as he stares me down, everything is a sign.
Somewhere up carriage a fat girl with a French bun scrolls through forgotten text messages, dressed in a bright pink pullover. The train doors open and close and the train moves off weaving through the suburbs. A Maori guy enters, black cap and Puma bag, he sits picking his nose and flicking snot balls onto the window glass. He spots me watching him, and smiles politely but continues to pick, roll and flick. I pause my music, take out one earphone and listen carefully to the community announcement.
Announcement – For safety and security reasons video cameras are in use on this train.
Yes, I’m on the Cleveland line I think…where everything is a sign! I must make funeral arrangements tomorrow.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Noel Anderson has directed too many theatrical productions, performed in The Real Ghostbusters Show in shopping centres, written well into the night when in pain, worked with a helluva lot of people and had the odd breakdown. He believes in the power of pop music and Campbell’s Soup. Noel’s written work includes Hello Little Man (Melbourne Writer’s Social Anthology 2016), Kylie Kastle Throws A Party (performed in schools across the country), Germ Warfare, The Carer, Andy Warhol’s Fifteen Minutes Of Fame and the new Australian musical Audrey Hepburn And I Consider Our Assets ( fb.me/audreythemusical ) which premiered at the Melba Spiegeltent on 29th October 2015. You can follow Noel on Twitter: @Randyandy42 or https://www.facebook.com/noel.anderson42
Noel is a member of the Melbourne Writer’s Social