I am currently in the process of writing a book – well stories always come to me and I always begin so I would really like to actually finish one. The idea for this story popped in my head a long time ago and I have slowly been evolving it in my mind. Recently I sat down to write the beginnings of the story, for probably the fifth time, and thought I would share what I have so far. Here goes:
The train was old,
having endured many lifetimes of journeys it was nearing towards many more.
The train was red,
with what was once a glossy film of paint is now a thick coat of dust, dirt, rain and snow.
The train was ready,
to continue on carrying disposable passengers, dropping some off and in their place picking up new ones.
I had been in Paris for about nine months and was beginning to get restless. I was tired of drinking wine with the same acquaintances and strolling down the same streets. I was bored of croissants and coffee, of side street cafes and of the Eiffel tower. I wanted something different, again. I was one of those people who had never been able to stay put. As a child my parents and I would move around a lot, even more so in my teenage years as my fathers post in the military changed and changed again and again. Entering into my young adult years I could never stay in a new city longer than a year.
I sat on my balcony, with a dying cigarette in between my fingers, contemplating whether I should pack up my belongings once more. I had started smoking when I arrived in France deciding it was to be part of my Parisian identity. However, I was a terrible addict, I just couldn’t stick to it. The cigarette always remained between my two fingers, never to be kissed by my own lips.
I remember watching people live their lives through the window of the building opposite to mine. There was a particular having sex on their couch and I frowned, I wonder if they know that their bare asses are peoples view for the night. I threw the cigarette over the balcony and watched it float towards the ground; little red sparkles flittered away in the cool breeze. Yes, I was tired of the promiscuity of France. Tired of the sex and the alcohol. Tired of the naïve honeymooners who arrived for two weeks and never left their hotel rooms except to take a photo on the tower and to eat bread and cheese while drinking wine at 4 in the afternoon. I decided then and there that I would go somewhere, anywhere that was not here.
Aimlessly strolling back inside with a purpose I scanned my bookshelf. It was decorated with books, films and music. My eyes caught the Sofia Coppola film starring Kristen Dunst. I had always liked the story of Marie Antoinette. A diamond caught up in the rough revolution of the French people, who were not her people. Whether she said let them eat cake or not, I decided that she must have had good intentions and was instead a product of peoples prejudice – ah something many individuals know can completely debilitate you. Well, considering I was already at the heart of the country that had chosen to cut off her head I decided that I would return to her place of birth; Austria. Vienna seemed the best option. I had always loved that Billy Joel song as it convinced me that yes Vienna was in fact waiting for me. I booked a train ticket and began to pack. It was 2am.
Dear Madame Mimiex,
Thank you for your kind hospitality in lending me an apartment in your building. I have greatly enjoyed my time here but have decided that it has come for me to move along. I have left you the remainder of this months rent.
I left that morning.
I felt no guilt for leaving without telling anyone, I don’t know why. I don’t know if that makes me a bad person or a sensible one. I’ll tell you now that I am not a runner, in no way am I running away from my responsibilities. I just never really connected with anyone in Paris, or anywhere for that matter. I’ve never had friends, the real ones. You know those friends that live next door to each other and have weekly Friday night slumber parties. Who have a secret handshake and plan their futures in sync. I was just never that person, and I doubt I ever will be. In the words of Julie Walters in Mamma Mia, “I’m a lone wolf.”
I stood on the platform.
Waiting, waiting, waiting
Waiting for the train is like waiting for the kettle to boil. It is essential, there is no way to speed up the process yet time seems to become elongated, stretching out just to piss you off.
I waited some more
And then finally, the train came, I got on and off we went.
I sat in a carriage on my own.
Plush red seats staring back at each other with a wooden board table in between.
Frosty windows and lovely landscape.
Sometimes I question why people do certain things. They act in such vicious ways, politicians drop bombs, musicians sleep with people on the top, businesspeople rip their way up to the top. They let their morals float away softly hitting the floor, as if dropping petals of flowers from their hand. The thing is, they think that in doing so they can achieve what ever it is that they want. This intense wanting of things; abstract and physical. The question isn’t why do people do the things that they do. It is why do they want these things that cause them to behave in such a manor. I’m not sure – no one is. We just do.