Trips into Town
Trips into Town.
It’s a game I play on my way to work wearing my HBF uniform. Another day of routine smiles and customer queries beckons. When the monotony gets too much, I wear the seahorse broach my son gave me for my birthday.
With the announcement “Next station Perth!” I focus my energies. As we squeal into the Leederville Tunnel, the lights flicker then dim. In the fraction of black, a thrill of anticipation runs through me.
The last person I concentrated on wore a lot of jewellery, expensive clothes, bag and shoes. She obviously has the time and money to be attractive, with immaculate nails.
When the lights burn fully again, I am wearing the expensive clothes, lots of jewellery and immaculate nails. I smile and wonder what the day holds.
Unlimited credit cards - meeting a friend for lunch on The Terrace - more shopping - check out the bank account - pop into the Italian Jewellers for a new bracelet… I decline dinner at the Hyatt. I have to get back to my children.
But first I have to find myself. I am a creature of habit and I make sure I get the same train every night. I wait in the same place on Platform 2 with sore feet and tired stance.
On the train again, I place the handbag between my feet. We sway to the left and the lights flicker then dim. Fraction of black and I concentrate, staring at myself two seats away, firmly clutching Angela’s purchases.
My family wonders how I manage to acquire such gorgeous clothes and new jewellery, on my wage. I’m sure they think I have an admirer. They don’t know the secret of my trips into town.
Frances Macaulay Forde © 2003
1st published in 'Hidden Capacity - a poet's journey', Ireland, 2003.