I’m trying to remember the first time I rode on a train. It may not have been til my early or even mid teens. The vagaries of geography and public transport networks meant that I travelled on buses for my youth. The main line to London still had small cars when I was fifteen, the individual compartments that could seat six or eight people. No connecting corridor. I remember almost getting thrown out of one during one dark drunken night. I lived by a rail station for a while, and slept to the sound of the rail lines singing as they cooled in the night. Thirty-odd years of riding this line into London. Parts of it have changed so little that sometimes, on a lightless or rainy day, I almost imagine that I could look out the window and see my younger self boarding the train a few carriages down, or waiting on the other platform for the last train into Southend. Time gets strange, out in these semi-rural stops. Ghosts of ourselves in the rain, standing silently by the singing rails, trying not to make eye contact with each other as we wait for the last ride home.
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(fragment, written October 2015)