I had an early appointment in
the city. So rose early and made my way the nearest tram stop. Even at eight in
the morning parking was at a premium so I squeezed my way into a space unusable
by larger cars and walked to the platform. It was only the second stop from the
end of the line but already all seats were taken, so I validate my ticket and squeezed
in between the other commuters with some measure of back support. I had a pole
to hang onto and after the tram lurched away with at least fifteen stops to go I
glanced at my fellow commuters. I could have been their grandfather, literally only,
as I recognised none of them. I was the oldest traveller on the tram. I used to
be a commuter twenty years ago. Lurching along, observing and noting the little
activities that would one day be stories. It all came back. Yes, these were the
same people I had travelled with before or perhaps they are their children.
Some things had changed though. Within arms reach there were six people on
their mobiles, two on their iPads, and a solitary one on her Kindle. All but
one mobile was standing. One was listening to music as she was in another world
connected by an earpiece and unspeaking.
Rain was forecast. But that
was not heeded, bare legs and toes were on the menu. Closest to me were a couple,
their words inaudible as they spoke the language of love. Her eyes never left
him and her lips were in motion but not one was I privy to and I only saw the
back of his head. It seemed that all eyes but mine were unseeing, none looked
at me and all but the couple linked in love looked at each other.
The tramcar stopped
frequently and soon even the driver knew we could take on no more and must have
put the full sign up as he slowed at the stops but kept moving.
Not far from me was a ticket
vending machine. It was busy and none but one used currency to pay their fare
or to load credit to their ticket. So much had changed in the intervening two
score years when the conductor with tickets and machine at the ready would walk
the tram and ply his trade.
My attention was alerted to
an incident, the couple had separated; he had made his way to the doors. Damn,
I had missed their parting! I could have written a story of their silent gentle
love, why hadn’t they co-operated and kissed lingeringly for me to see? Perhaps
they argued as he wouldn’t set the wedding date? What lame excuse did he make?
The tram lurched around the
bend we were approaching the centre of the city, the commuters were getting
restless, talk was terse, the working day was starting. The rain was
drizzling down as the tramcar reached my stop and as I got off I wondered
whether any one else had been observing me.