The rain dribbles from the neo-Victorian overhang of the railway station. No-one else is on the platform although a light shines from under the door of the ticket office on Platform One. Dawn is an hour away, as is the first train. Robin, sitting on the bench, hugs himself – his fingers cold, sniffs and rubs his sleep filled eyes.
He stands up and starts to walk down the platform, turns before the awning ends and walks back. Twice he does this, banging his hands on his sides to try and bring back the circulation. Then he goes out into the drizzle and looks at the sleeping town. Street lights reflected in damp roads; hills beyond the common, where he likes to walk the dog, are a dark mass in the distance.
He hadn’t been able to sleep last night. He believes that he has to get away to think, to be by himself; he feels sure, if there is such a thing as sure, that if he goes away it will help dull the feelings that sweep over him. Even now standing in the rain on the deserted platform he feels better, as if the rain has begun to wash away his dark thoughts.
He notices the flowers by the station notice board. Someone has cared enough to try and add a bit of colour to this drab place. That’s what he needs, colour in his life so that he can dispel the monochrome thoughts that go round and round inside his head. He removes his glasses to wipe the rain from them, but they just smear. Being unable to see clearly makes him take notice of the guilty ache in his heart. Why has he done it?
The light under the door of the ticket office spreads onto the platform as the door opens. Robin goes towards it as a man comes out.
“Single for Paddington, please,” Robin mumbles.
The man goes into his kiosk and hands over the ticket. Robin notices dawn arriving along with the swishing sound of the train on the rails in the distance, he stands back as it approaches noisily.
Doors open and close. A whistle sounds, the train draws out of the station leaving a solitary figure in the damp morning.
March 26th, 2011