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.
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