H. M. L. Swann
Day 28: Escape
300 Days of Writing
Day 28 Escape:
She had a ticket for the train, but she never boarded it.
She stood on the platform, and the rush of the train blew her skirt around her knees. The employees on the platform raised a white paddle in the air and the train took off. She watched it go. Through the windows, she watched its passengers glued to their phones, munching on crisps be whisked away from the city center.
The woman felt giddy then, her toes damp from rain felt ready to run as she went up the stairs. Out of the underground, she breathed in deep, flaring her nostrils. She could smell exhaust, oil, and fast food. She could hear a hundred conversations at once as people rushed past her in groups.
She deleted the train line app on her phone and finally felt alive.
Where would she go? She had no friends or family in this country, and she had just decided to abandoned her prepaid apartment.
Her stomach grumbled audibly, and she decided on food first, then find a place to sleep.
Walking down Oxford Road, she paid special, yet discrete, attention to the homeless that sat outside the supermarkets. She tossed the first one her spare change and felt guilty at every subsequent person she passed, knowing she had nothing left to give.
Nothing left, she thought, how apt a description for herself. She carried on towards Manchester’s Northern Quarter. The populous around her grew in tempo and frequency and she hurried up with them.
She was moving with the tide, the ebb and flow of the society she had abandoned. She tried to imagine a society that felt healthy and safe but came up empty.
She moseyed through a few shops. In an underground antique store she spent a good deal of time looking through the adult magazine section and bought herself a stack of vintage entertainment before making her way back to the street.
It felt to her as if everyone could see the filth she had bought, but she didn’t think it was filth, she liked it. Still, at the next church she passed, she went in to pray.
Kneeling near the back of the cathedral, the sun rays through the stained glass just missed her. She watched dust motes float in mid-air and wondered if they contained their own worlds and, if they did, if there was a woman there as lonely as her.