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I walked onto the train as I did every day. I listened as the announcer reeled off the same stops I'd heard 100 times before. I heard the name of my town and didn't smile or frown. I grabbed hold of the nearest blue pole next to me and stared down the train. My eyes wandered past the man who sat beneath my arm, staring past the woman who smiled at her phone and into the glass that revealed even more passengers beyond it—carriages full of commuters. People getting from one place to another, on the same journey as me.
My head aches from eight hours of computer lights screaming in my face, in an office too cold to function within. The stops pass by without my notice, without any acknowledgement. If this train wasn't so full, I could read. I would pull my book out of my bag, push my glasses up my nose and transport myself in to a world that isn't this. A world where PowerPoints and Excel sheets don't dominate every fucking day. One where creatives can be creative, instead of typing emails and asking people who you don't give a damn how they are, how they are.
I type e-mails without depth, wishing to write something with heart, instead of being on this train. I finished my last e-mail at 4:57 and clicked shut down on the computer. I didn’t check if it had sent—it doesn’t matter. None of it does. I grabbed my bag and stood waiting for the elevators to open before the computer screen had turned to black. The breeze encompassed me as I walked through the freedom of autumn evening. Evening, I say, as the city is lit with unnatural lights and unnatural air and unnatural people. This night is too light without living. The journey to the station and all it inhabits, is as empty as the train stops I'm passing. The same fucking route every day, to the same building and the same desk I have grown to despise.
I stare into the glass at the other passengers on the train. My hand grips the bar between my fingers and I wonder how hard I'd have to squeeze for my wrist to break. My head still hurts. I don’t think it has stopped hurting for months now. My eyes carry the tiredness of tears behind them, waiting to pour out my soul on to the gravel for someone else to slip on as their running late to the train. I keep them locked away so tight but all I want to do is scream.
A writer is what I am, but a writer is also what I am not. I have become this commuter with a classic nine to five that achieves nothing. A pointless eight hours of my day that pays my rent and fills my stomach. It's only a year, I keep telling myself, but a year is a very long time. It takes a year to fall in love. A year to grow so ill, the hospital insists you stay constantly. A year to buy a house. In a year you could fly to as many countries as you could name. A year could be better spent lost without trying to find a thing. Or spent trying to become lost, away from the idea of being found that you had become so wrapped up in.
"It's only a year," I mutter to myself as my breathing becomes shorter.
"It's only a year," I tell myself as I type the last email of the day.