Sunday Afternoon Rail Journey
by rikki weir
Now we passed factories, great and half-painted metal sheds. One took five seconds to leave and apparently a blue school, on this east London sky-rail, industrial dereliction re-sprouting slowly below. Freight-lined by electrical pylons, life seems harsh by urban raised rail tracks, over dead arches. No regeneration due for three years there.
From outer interchanges, through belts of recent racists, escaping under-regulated thoughts ever-more now. The carriage-insides felt imposing here, big dogs and cyclists, suburbanites cynical of us steering central.
At Stoke Newington, a pair of Americans boarded, mother and boy. Now I felt a pervading lightness at their arrival as bigger outsiders than us. Members of another continent, they spoke too loudly, Upstate New York. Each clear utterance I saw grating on fellow Brits, even those who weren’t born here – we were all ready for some outskirts-liver, livid at this foreigner-dominance.
The six-foot baby fawned at his mother's hands. And they kissed on lips with audible slop; his glasses-wearing eyes aimed into hers. Short-sightedly wanting to prolong suckles, or snuggling breasts now. Obviously they hadn't seen one another for some time; he craved the teat. And only this woman could role-play best, all his fantasies; fat chick clamouring for his worm's sake.
His rectangular spectacles, to be adjusted after every fervent hug, pushed sideways against her bust. Indolently she reciprocated, allowing him these specialities and receiving some surprise of pleasure in each slurping attack, his pressing body. The teen son, awe-inspired from each caress, often lay on her shoulder, suckling neck. Grazing thighs now, to test the legitimacy of that from whence he came, and amazed at his once being inside there.
But was it possible, to love a mother so? Or was he sick, young and extroverted with hired old body? Now his gaze was yearning to increase the density of a kiss or grope each time. An inch away would disgrace them and we wanted their full public taboo, with her eyes glazing at each slurp and too-hard hug.
Would the years give in now, all over their faces? The ultimate ecstasy had to be expressed. We secretly hoped for their ruination, penetrating the barrier into full copulation, for squirm-enduring their whining Americanisms. Then they'd pretend not to be related or we could record them like night-club lesbians.
Even Molly's following football admirers had cooled to the doors. Initially, those strong US voices elicited their respect, but the boisterous affection of this big-boned teen was more a warning now. He'd be fiercely defensive and strong-willed, a future rower and promoter of banking.
Molly was a concentration of inner-death-metal-gig, replaying all the harsh turns her laptop wanted to provide here. At least her bags were surprisingly well-kept, or most of her stuff was already stored in lost custody.
Eyeballs felt grand to rake around sockets, like the first time they'd been stretched those ways. Maybe this was all from drugs. Isleta, Molly and I spoke in lowered tones, taking our silences with theirs. Sucks and slurps of familial skin alleviated any sexual undertone in our threesome.
The woman had a wearied glow, like she'd given too much milk, but was happy for it. Having resolved to spend herself, he'd take her by forceful affection; teasing carnal boundaries with his massive attack of squeezing inches. Now Molly wore a flickering look, getting worse, after lying in their sex shadows longer.
Seats were nearly full in our section of carriage. On padded benches, too close, stuck facing the action. But now hovering about strewn bags, making a scene of sidestepping them, twisting her head and gawping about extra baggage, was a certain type of person. There was easily room for her to pass around floored items; she didn't have to consider walking in nooks where they slightly jutted.
Scanning our goods like an extremely obvious thief, she drew our eyes when her back was turned. A large, brunette-rooted woman was dressed for a day near Big Ben. Momma's boy scowled at us, like we attracted her.
At the next stop now, a small male rushed in before our female oaf could take the seat behind. Concerned at these interruptions of his life-built fetish, repaying saved touches from birth, would Son prove them to newcomers too? Now the oafette aimed around Incest Couple and us, shaming our baggage seats again.
Then Oafette spun a stupid jerkiness. Clutching upper handles, a squeal of fingers against glass emphasised her state. There were seats away from here, but the disposition of our bags and these loud Americans drew her mindlessly. Straggling at overhead shelves for balance, now threatening her bum over Molly, it became obvious she should smother the waif, as urban justice.
"Is she pregnant and stupid, or stupidly fat?” burst Molly.
“She's too old,” Isleta surprisingly added.
Oafette’s slow eyes looked wary at one of her usual mis-hearings. Then she huffed at Incest Mom. A wave of relief came on us that she was mistaken, followed by intrigue at getting away with more. But Molly looked wary of being crushed in a bum-shadow still, looking for a way to offend them all away.
This was how they all were – their flawed quirks from squeezing together too closely in offices and media waiting to be displayed. Molly drew them unconsciously to bathe in her glow; where dull wretches could show themselves special, with their incest and entitlements to sit. A cross between a scoff and the blowing of a raspberry sounded from a nearby trio of football fans.
Molly reacted to the bum: "She's on her way to work, to stand for the next half-day… We’ve just been exercising for twelve hours, in all sorts of ways.”
Oafette was ripe for a venting. Her sticky feet, air-holed for maximisation of tourism, ripped and slapped, quickly leaving, where the free seats were.
Mom nudged Son that he should've offered his own chair, or to attack us folk, outside their elitist activities. Dressed for the executive seats at a regatta, they faced us service workers, clerical staff and student types. Now Incest Son stood apologetically. With his spectacles, leering at Isleta now; distaste of an order gone wrong, or defensive at what the room service girl might’ve seen before breakfast?
My longer hair alone put Son off approaching me. Over the past hours, I'd cultivated energetic roguishness to aid Molly’s flow in getting us here. With left arm crossed over my stomach, my right guarded the chin. If he attacked from my other side, I’d upper-cut his glasses out the window, opened to cool their smooches.
How dare they dominate us with cold air and kisses? Blind without glasses, I'd spin him out the door, next stop. Or aggressively, I might talk us into standing areas, barge him off when doors open, hopefully keeping closed. With my bulging eyes, newly pumping blood had an extra skipping beat now.
Molly’s following football fans guessed my drugged mind-state, taking part in a series of high-pitched critiques. One was about the future health of Incest Son in consequence of his portliness, adding information of his spectacle-wearing behaviours to the equation.
Now Son cross-eyed Isleta, who gave oration in Spanish, with memorable hand gestures. And our noble sports supporters behaved decidedly, zonally defending the South American style of play, to discipline the backside of a youth with a sole of her work-shoes. Even more respectful, they were, in safeguarding Isleta's right, to deliver the further sociological lesson of cackling in the face of the manager-class. She increased the education with exuberance, kneeling in his lap as the train jerked, to show our similar base vulnerabilities.
Having steadied himself too long on Isleta's backpack, Son took the lesson to his warped mind, removing our waitress's other work shoe, possibly to fawn over her stinking toil for his types. So the soccer enthusiasts reacted with the mood of group protestation rife in their sport, bemoaning loss of the essential article, for the playing of their game.
Now advancing as a wall to free-kicks, they spilt for the slide tackle or jumping block. But Son pirouetted the invisible ball, continuing his offense by luck. Tourists are most likely to find themselves in the lap of a Londoner on their trains, unaccustomed to specific rhythms and vibrations; not knowing when to hold, or how to angle the body against unknown directives.
Having evaded all attempts, making a mockery of three experienced defenders, he had the open goal, only to discover our pitch was slanted. When the whole structure we existed on curved and rattled in familiar vibrations and jumps, we cocked minutely swaying away, knowing these London durations to the quarter-second.
Football fans further crushed crisps. Cyclists screeched at the thought of alien sweat-drops on wheels. Siberian dogs clawed us as we turned, our huddled swing. A bottle made the calming tonic on Son's flat-head, perpetually rounding up all our expended kinetica, to waste it in noise and impact inside our section of mechanised cover, tugging itself between applicants, until it met with its own kind.
What did that bottle just dream of? Destruction of the slavery of glass? Or escape from the cycle of recycling? Now another source of fresh air for train-goers to truly experience these parts came, with the crack. How could tourists claim to have visited a place, racing through, without feeling its freshness spontaneously?
* * *
Punctured by the mosh, this was the first one I'd been in. “The nuts,” she garbled. Now we were all pushing to provide pedestals for her, whose packet had been stomped, and I won. Bottles were clinked and dogs wheeze-laughed at bike thrusts, spokes-churning fingers. Whilst heads were clearing, the dreadlocks'd lady slapped others just to make sure.
One football-clothes-wearer had the sensibility to record our match, whilst being a part of it. Floating in this human-ball-pit, a catch of emergency neon diffused the scrum, for tickets. She was reeling in a lack of sustenance, which had been trampled, but Nuts Woman held to Incest Son, showing our cause of disorder: upper classes without moral compass.
A spider's web of crackled glass was stuck by them now. Accentuating our creativity, snowy whistles drew the conductor nearer; train gliding some final approach. But Incest Son had somehow defaced what he was always trying to protect – the evolutionary atmosphere of electrical trains. And he trembled with the decline of rail-staff uniforms.
Molly was slapping a sixteen-year-old.
“Now show me your tickets.”
The uniformed decline approached, currently stuck on Oafette. As football fans took in the sight of forty possible pitches, snow-air came through the bottle-made hole. A white dog sniffed heat from human fights, primed to snow-bound.
Annoying muscles in the lightness of it, we stayed in a moving slowness, always half-stopping and minutely braced. Nearly letting go, but still going. Should we just give up, release muscles from other people's clothes? With too many of us to notice, we came to another jerk-stop, or station. Where coolness hung in the whisper of faraway cars, sweat wet my back. Incest Son had covered his smashing.
Blasts of snow thrashed our hot faces. Light bathed all scratches. The football fields were one stretching mass of white for the dogs to yank their owner-cyclist towards. With Mom patting Son's bum out the door, finally fully won, the whole troupe could imbue London Fields, scatter our spirit, or a bloody mess on the platforms. So we kept passing them, like goodbyes from vintage film, rolling away, with our new intake.