Monday, March 14, 2011

BART 1


"Six car Richmond train - now approaching, platform one," I hear a stilted voice bark out  into the dark blue platform. I rush up the elevator, my wet shoes sliding on the steps, I  run up the shadowed corridor of air slanting up from the station to the platform above.  Narrow and thin, the diagonal concrete passageway gathers around me, attempting to break  the parallel formation of its grey faces. A lady with her office baggage is blocking the  way - the left lane! the one reserved for frantic commuters like me, who decide that  elevators aren't fast enough vertical transport.  I side step her - one! two! - and I'm  ahead, the edge approaching slowly - the deep blue morning sky peeking out ahead,  expanding in an strange polygon formed by the blocks of steel and concrete that make up  the BART station.

"The doors are now closing - please stand clear of the doors," I hear coming from within  the lit train standing on the platform. Listless faces peering out of the golden light of  the interior, looking out onto the grey and blue scene of cement and sky outside. People  hustling towards the train doors on the platform, eager to catch the doors and leap into  the train compartment. I press my shoes into the floor, and run ahead - the doors start  closing - determined to catch them halfway, I skip - I sprint, and swissssh - the doors  close flat in front of my nose, leaving me panting on the black rectangle of the platform  marking the doors. I've missed my train. Now I'll be late.

The feeling of missing a train is odd - it lies somewhere in the fine crack between regret  and resignation. I look at the departing train - faces mushing away in the speed - the  red backlights and the grinding noise of the wheels on the tracks disappearing into the  dark night. From far away on the platform, I watch it curve away, and I think - what if I  had walked a centimeter extra on one of my many steps to the station? - what if the lady  hadn't been blocking the left portion of the elevator? - what if I hadn't been momentarily  distracted by the expressionless faces staring out from the train? Would it have  been any different - or is there some fatalistic 'requirement' that I miss this train  here, now?

 A quiet breeze blows through my hair, as if dousing me with a bit of blue sky. I sit  down on a damp bench, take out my laptop, and write for a while, waiting for the next Richmond train to approach.

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