Sharing Spaces

Sharing spaces is healing

I’m on a train where I have to share space. It’s less tricky than sharing an elevator, your country or a religion. Here I don’t have to avoid people’s bodies, defend anything, be responsible for others’ actions, or beg for acceptance.

Sharing train space has rules that are based on more than the geography of the space; it’s underpinned by culture, economics and psychology. But that is for another time.

I enter the train and stories start to float around, some endlessly, others rest on my keyboard.
Here stories start by ignoring each other and end up being my play mates. On every train journey I pick up something: a face, a word, a wisdom, or sadness. With every journey, I change.

I threw myself on the seat. It was a long breathless day that ran away with my breaths, piercing like a brand new nail.
It was a goodbye. Goodbyes. Why do they call them “good”?
Can anyone tell me?!
I’d name them cruel-bye, or why-did-you-come-to-say-goodbye-goodbye.

That day I entered the train but met no stories. Only her face was visible, beseeching me not to cry. “So what, mama.”
“It will all be ok, mama.” ” Nothing matters, mama.”

I sat and looked at the comfortable shoes I knowingly wore that morning. They tried but they could not comfort me. It was hot, boiling hot and angry and as sticky as their flashing words, as my flushes as my flesh touching flesh.

I washed away my presence and replaced it with a dream. Then took off my shoes under the table.
My foot relaxed and started to stroke the brown leather. My toes loved the expensive softness.

“Blows and strokes; that’s what life is made of,” I think.
“That’s how we cope.”

He was sitting in front of me, that stranger, and I felt his gaze. His kind teasing smile held my eyes. He raised his eyebrows and gently said , “I was enjoying that, but I can’t let you continue.”

I laughed with embarrassment, and stopped. I was stroking his foot instead of mine. I apologied a million times to him, and to my toes.

“That’s how we cope,” I think. A tear rests on our cheek and asks a smile out for a date to continue the journey together.

Wait, a woman has just thrown herself on the seat next to me.
I wonder why she looks so distraught …

Sharing a space is healing.