Monday, 19 August 2013

People Watching By Melissa Wray (Commended award)

This was one of the first pieces of writing I wrote years ago. I recently pulled it out of the archives and polished it up. It was submitted it for a writing competition with the topic 'Real' as inspiration. I'm pleased to say it received a commended award!
People Watching.
The constant hum of the engine filters through my senses. My body is mesmerized by the rock and sway of the metal enclosure. I try to keep balanced but my head nods about of its own accord. I survey everyone around me. My eyes jump from one passenger to another. They are strangers to me, yet I am comforted by their familiarity. Most read the free newspaper that is available each morning. Some leave it behind for the next person. A gesture that is thoughtful or lazy I do not know. Many drink a scalding beverage bought from the local vendor before boarding. The caffeine aroma wafts through the carriage, greeting others as they board. The scent makes my stomach rumble, reminding me of the breakfast I missed.

A few people talk in hushed tones on their phones. Occasionally they speak in languages I don't understand but know the origin. One male voice rises then dips just as quickly. His outburst cut short in public. From the front a high-pitched cackle cuts like a knife into the atmosphere. The owner leans in close to her companion as he whispers something else. They laugh conspiratorially as he reaches for her hand. In front of them a loud droning radiates from a school boy. The teenager nods his head, caught up in the beat only he can hear. He stops suddenly and glances around. Our eyes meet fleetingly before he looks away.

At the next stop a man arrives in a dark suit and flops down. He adjusts his tie, clears his throat and stretches his legs as far as they can go. The lady opposite moves slightly to make room. Her glare goes unnoticed by him. Two young girls giggle as they squeeze through the sliding doors. Their school bags are tossed down as they catch their breath. A young lady unzips a small bag. She removes a compact and flips open the mirror. With precise strokes she applies the mascara and bright lipstick in time with the movement of the train.

A man nearby stands and offers his seat to an elderly woman. She thanks him but refuses, holding tight to the cold metal pole. He sits down and opens the paper, unfazed by the rebuff. A young woman cradles her sleeping baby. She adjusts the mint coloured blanket as his hand pokes out the top. Pulling him closer she pats him once more. The women opposite smiles timidly then closes her eyes. Her hands rest on the swell of her own belly.

I return the card to the old man rambling about the winter days and his arthritis. His wife rolls her eyes at me and I give her a wink. With the lurch of the train I continue down the aisle with my hole puncher.

Tickets please! 
Thanks to Dee White at Writing Classes for Kids & Adults.
It provides writing resources, online writing classes and mentoring for writers of all ages from 8 to 80 and beyond. It is faciliated by the passionate and talented Children and Young Adult author Dee White.


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks Leti. It was written from all the time I spent on the train and tube when living in London. Lots of fun people watching to do then!