The official waiting rooms have been taken away. The substitution requires you to pay to wait. Waiting as a business. Hardly the stuff of Hemingway, no romance, no longing, lust or sunshine. It’s cold drafts, blue morning light and a sense of purposeful energy that is directed at… Waiting.
Bob Marley sings about shooting the sherif whilst eleven single people dressed in their uniform of black, brown or grey outerwear hunch. They hunch over their coffee. They hunch over their free newspapers. They hunch over their laptops or phones, catching up. It’s a serious business, waiting.
The staff bustle, quickly clearing the tables. A blue screen displays the departure times. The announcements are muffled but echo around. The track changes – upbeat is it Queen… No. I can’t figure this one out.
Through the windows you can see the trains and platforms. There’s no entry directly. This isn’t a waiting room. Except someone just walked by, he didn’t sit down with a coffee to read his messages. He was walking too fast for that. There was a clunk. The draft changes direction. A few people look up. He slams the door. He’s escaped. He’s walking along the platform. His rucksack over one shoulder. His coat flaps open. There are no alarms. He’s not accosted for evidence, his ticket to travel. He could be going anywhere: Kings Lynn, Sunderland, Hull or Edinburgh. He could stow away. He could jump off, catch a boat, sail away with his ruck sack swinging and coat flapping.
Everyone else carries on with their newspapers, email and hot drinks.
KT Tunstall sings, “suddenly I see”