A Train Station

A Train Station

The sky was covered with a layer of fog, making it uniformly light grey. The sun behind the fog didn’t reveal its position but emitted intense light rays burning the train station from every direction. The building sat like a great stamp pressed against the ground, solemnly imprinting a seal of grandeur on the city. The crowd looked like ants fighting for a bite on a delicious cake, congregating around the station. They were moving in slowly yet more and more people were coming.

Squeezing through the flock of people, he finally emerged inside the station. People around him were shoulder to shoulder, face to face. They were talking, some yelling into their phones, others patting each other and shouting with flying saliva. There was also the beeping of the ticket scanner, groaning of the conveyer belt, zipping noise of luggage and suitcases. Far ahead, there was the sound of a lady broadcasting the state of the trains, but it was soon unidentifiable, being smothered by footsteps as the crowded queue started to move forward again. All of the different sound was mixed together, twirling around him, as if the crowd was a huge swirl in the middle of the ocean, intending to suck him in. The crowd, the low ceiling, the limited seats and check-in stations seemed to be an invisible hand pressing on passengers, making people unable to breathe.

Eventually, he got past the security check and stepped towards his station. There was no train on the rails yet, so he tried to find a seat. The sitting area was milling with people. Some were on the seats, some were sitting on the floor, while others lay asleep with bags under their head, waiting for the train. He laid his suitcase flat on the floor and sat down. He counted the number of seats then observed each one. Most of the seats were covered with spots of heavy rust. It was hard to imagine how bright and smooth and shiny they used to be. The plastic parts of the seats were deformed in the high temperature, their faded skin coiled up and flakes of plastic was peeled off. On the potholed wall, there were the yellowed fans, fanning in all directions uselessly.

Ages, centuries seemed to pass, until eventually, the train arrived with a gust of wind. Soon it started accelerating away from the station, as if it was a happy bird breaking out from a crowded, tiny cage, gliding freely, smoothly into the wild.

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