The day was dismal. The rain was more like vapour that swirled around the open air like the atmosphere of another planet, soaking all it came into contact with. Umbrellas were quite useless. Her mood matched her surroundings, the journey home was always a depressing one. Leaving the market town of her campus which held her passions and future prospects, to take a train home, where the beautiful bubbles of dreams are popped one by one by the desperate bony finger of city life.
The train journey into the city takes the traveller over a bridge. The bridge crosses a rather dirty part of the sea, that only separates the nondescript land masses by a rather grim channel, full of stolen bikes and shopping trolleys that reach up through the low tides like the grubby hands of the low society asking for more. They, herself included, formed a good 70% of the city.
She still had a way to go though and was speeding through the low lying fields, plush and green and subject to surface flooding after heavy rain. Farm buildings and occasional clusters of houses sped past. She had a book open on her lap but stared through the window in deep contemplation and daydream. The book was always her prop. She’d try to read but was often distracted by the world outside the claustrophobic carriages.
How beautiful the old market town was. It bustled with healthy, wealthy people pottering round the pretty home interior and clothing shops along with different cafés and restaurants. There were street buskers playing ditties and priests stood in the centre handing out sandwiches and divine guidance. It was just so ‘nice’. She has been attending University only a short time but already felt changed. Spending time studying what she loved, rather than working dead end jobs had made her truly happy. She told herself to make the most of it and promised herself she’d be a success.
But that was the last she’d see of it until Monday now. She was going home. Home where foxes scream as they mate in the night. Home where you rarely looked anyone in the eye either through respect or through fear.
The City had come a long way since she was young, when it was full of poverty and violence. However, there was still a lot to be desired. The dirty terraces house more people per square metre than most places. Rubbish sits in the street and people sit on corners waiting for drugs. Being a city, it wasn’t all like this, but this was where she lived and she wanted out. There was little happiness here, all nerves and struggle.
So she looked out of the window of the train and as the elation of the day was sucked out of her by the coming disappointment of setting, she cushioned the blow by dreaming she was somewhere else. Somewhere more quiet and more beautiful. She’d found a house there off the back of her first book being published and a contract for more. It had a study full of books and plants, with a big window and a view of the harbour across the road. Out the back was an enclosed garden, floor covered in stones with a circular mosaic pattern in the middle, walls covered with winding green leaves, clematis, passionflower and honeysuckle. A small metal table and chairs surrounded with lazily arranged pots of lavender, iris and dahlia in blues and purples and burgundies. Bee’s buzzed around dimwitted, butterflies basked on the vivacious plants. Inside there would be wooden floors with rugs and an open fire and blankets on old cushioned chairs for the cold winter nights and room for friends to stay, where they’d enjoy wine around the table, play cards and giggle mischievously at old memories until the early hours. She’d keep the large cupboard well stocked with food, nibbles and drink, as she loved to cook in her sunny kitchen but occasionally when she had to pop down the shop, she’d say hello and smile to the people she passed along the harbour and they’d wave and smile back. She could walk into the local pub and find someone pleasant to converse with over a gin. They would discuss goings on in the village and extend invites to each other for dinner that they’d never quite get round to. Her hard work paid off and she eventually became a successful writer and married and after many summers sitting together in the garden, watching bats at dusk and counting the stars at night, she fell pregnant to the first of her 3 boys. Suns rose and set in fiery oranges, reds and golds, Christmases, Birthdays came and time went with clouds of tinsel, candles and good cheer. Eventually she sat in the garden and the sun set for the final time over her weary but very happy and contended face. What a glorious ride life was.
The train was pulling into the station, she gathered her books and stepped over onto the concrete platform surrounded by large concrete buildings. She scoured the sea of faces for a smile and saw there was none. Carriers bags blew around her feet and sirens wailed on the road. She lowered her had and began the walk home.