What is it about big city train stations late at night.
The shadowless neon lighting. The hollow noises .The uncleared litter of a working day.
Surreal people waiting,watching, staring. Can they be trusted? Where did they come, from where are they going to?
I feel almost frightened by them.
I have waited at many of them.
Grand Central NYC
Gare du Nord
Frankfurt am Main
and now it was Paddington.
I knew I shouldn’t have come, and I did say I wouldn’t,but suddenly the warm room didn’t seem so inviting.
I’d have to get a taxi or I wouldn’t make it in time.
It had rained enough to turn the London pavements into mirrors, reflecting the dazzling city lights and almost hurting my eyes.
The theaters were beginning to come out,but luck was on my side. Past Trafalgar Square, through Admiralty Arch and down the Mall, Buckingham Palace lighting up the end of it,on the roof The Royal Standard dancing like a Prima Ballerina in the wind.
We swerved around Hyde Park Corner almost throwing me off the slippery leather seat. St Georges was still there under another name. Funny we had only been a stones throw away from each other in those days. Up Park Lane and at last into the Bayswater Road. Three minutes past ten,I was going to get there on time.
The 22.15 from Oxford was running late.
Do any trains run on time in England, thats just in Switzerland and nowadays they are often late there.
There was nowhere open any more except a station Pub where the clients looked as though they had been there since they left work,that is if they had been to work at all.
The handful of people in the eerie station had found somewhere to sit where they could stare at the automatic arrival boards and decipher them if they could. I had the feeling they were being manipulated by an eratic hand which changed it’s mind every few minutes. I asked someone politely to remove the packaging of his ‘big mac’ from the seat and joined the starers. The 22.15 from Oxford was expected at 22.40.
I thought I’d hide when the train came in, somewhere I could observe him and think why it was.
He wasn’t on it, and suddenly the Station took on horrifying proportions.
I waited for the next one,but he wasn’t on that either.
One of the last persons to walk through the gates was the driver himself, was that the Oxford train I asked’ ”Yes but that was the slow, the fast has halted further up, it should arrive anytime now”
He grinned ”I thought you said you wouldn’t come.”