Saturday, September 27, 2008

My Mind Was Found in Trafalagar!

While it has been several weeks since my last post I would like to make up for it by posting a short story I recently wrote. After a few weeks of both my mind and feet wondering round England and its countryside, I found myself in London and, more specifically, the London Underground. Here is my story.
When Trafalgar Became Queen I will never be as alive as I am during rush hour. Standing, feet inches from the large yellow letters that once said “Mind your step”, I begin to feel a breeze as my hair starts to tickle my cheek. As I look upwards and to my right I see two hints of light speed towards my direction; my train has arrived. Quickly, I grab hold of my suitcase and twist and turn amongst the dozens of people to get on board. Then, the real test comes: will I find an empty seat? Really, nothing relates to that feeling of finding one seat that is empty on a train for you to have. One seat that was empty and waiting for no one’s ass but yours. It felt like destiny despite the small fact that it was a five year old, germ infested, train seat that millions of people from all round the world had sat on and perchance, felt the same way as me at one point. As my feet make it onto the train car I start scurrying to my left, eyes focused upon a seat next to a young man with red hair, holding onto a Prada bag (why he has a Prada bag I do not know), but am beaten by a fifteen year old boy who had razor cuts all along his cheeks; apparently in denial of the fact that he hasn’t any facial hair but still shaves anyway. After losing my first race for a seat, I turn around and see two open seats at the end of the train car; both opposite each other and one with a large Red Bull can sitting atop it. As I squeezed through the mob of people rushing past, something brushed my leg and caused me to lose focus on my target. Once realizing it was only a woman and her huge, expensive fur coat (perchance an opera singer as she was dressed in her best and quite large in size), the woman looked at me with eyes that spoke in place of her large powerful voice. It was almost as if they worked as a warning for people; “You better stop looking at me now or else I shall sound my trumpet of a voice!” After sensing her annoyance, I quickly pretended that I was only looking at the Underground Train map laid out behind her bobble of a head. As the opera singer began scooting towards the south end of the train, I looked to the north and saw a twenty-some-year old girl throw her bags on one seat, consequently knocking the Red Bull can onto the floor, and herself on the other. By this point the train doors were closing and the overhead recording sounded “This is the Northern Line calling via Camden Town, ending at Charing Cross via Trafalgar Square. Next stop will be Mornington Crescent.” I had been on my feet for the entire day and could use a fifteen minuets rest, so I insisted on getting a seat. I walked up to the girl and asked if she’d mind moving her bags so that I could sit; her reply was, “Excusé?” After several moments of English enunciation and countless hand motions I finally forsake my long attempt at finding a seat and settled for the metal pole in the middle of the train car. By the time I grabbed hold of it, the train had begun to slow down and the recording said “This is Mornington Crescent.” About five people got off and as the thought of stealing one of their seats crossed my mind, five people got on and diminished any hope for me. From that point onward, I gave up trying to find a seat. Just then I noticed that out of the thirty-odd seats on this train car, I was the only one still standing; and not, by any means, should that be considered a good thing. While it may be fine to stand on a train whilst other people are doing the same, being the only person standing in the middle of the train makes one feel as if they an art exhibit that everyone is staring at, however no one understands as to why you should be considered art. Trying to ignore the stares, I think to myself, You only have six more stops then you are free; back at Trafalgar! Six more times of hearing that recorder’s voice talk in what I know to be a fake British accent; six more times of getting shoved out of the way whenever someone needs to get off or on the train; six more times of seeing the doors of the train open and give me a taste of what freedom and release is, but knowing I still have so much further to go till I can literally experience it. Six more times and I would be queen: Queen of the Underground---albeit, that sounds rather dark; Queen of Surviving the Dreadful Eyes of All London. Before I knew it, the train had slowed down again and as I looked out the window I saw the sign for Euston: Five more stops to go, I said to myself. As the train came to a complete stop and the doors slid open near half the people got off with no one to get on to take their seat. By this point I had grown rather fond of my spot on the train, even though there now were countless seats that seemed to be waiting for me and no one else. While I wasn’t sitting on the luxurious seats and was left standing all alone, I did still have hold of something that would keep me from being thrown about the train as it sped through the tunnels. For a moment I began to wonder what was outside of the train. While the pole did keep me from being jerked left and right, I felt it kept me from seeing past what was known: the train. Occasionally I would slowly let go of my grip on the pole and creep towards the window at the sliding doors. However, once I’d get an inch away from the window, the train would jerk to the right and throw me right back towards the pole. There was no escaping it. “This is Leicester Square. Please mind the gap between the platform and the train.” The last person, apart from me, got off and no one came on---this is actually shocking as Leicester Square is normally quite busy at this time. I was now all alone in the train, with what appeared to be millions of available seats for me to sit. But I dared not sit; my stop was next. Freedom was next. Victory was next. As the train sped off into blackness the pole began to spin me round as if we were a couple dancing in the most unlikely location. My bag began to slide towards the south end of the train and, trying to re-claim it, I reached my leg outwards and barely got hold of it. The whole train was dead silent apart from the constant clicking of the tracks and shaking of the walls. However, I heard a faint rolling sound coming towards me and just as I looked down an empty Red Bull can hit my left foot. The can had suffered a bit; had a few minor dents in the middle and the color had begun to be ruined. But there it was; rolling still. I finally began to feel the train slow down as the Red Bull can rolled down the opposite direction and under a seat, and knew that my stop was here. As I picked up my bag and waited for the doors to slide open I turned back around to get one last look at this empty train because I knew it wouldn’t be like this for long. “Now arriving at final destination: Charing Cross via Trafalgar Square.” Soon the train would begin a new rout and it would be rush hour again. And even though I knew how lonely an empty train appears, it’s one of those rarities that make life bearable. The doors finally opened and I took a deep breath as I stepped onto the platform, much similar to the one I had stepped off of fifteen minuets prior. I quickly turned around as the doors were closing and I saw the faint image of a Red Bull can rolling southward bound on the train. As I climbed up the steps to leave the Underground station I saw a hint of blue sky and began to hear the sound of fountains pouring and people cheering. I had made it! This was my freedom. I could see well past the train and tunnels. The pole no longer had a grip on me. And even though I knew I would occasionally get tossed left and right, there would always be something to hold onto; something to keep my balance. All that was in sight now was Trafalgar... and I had won her.
Now, keep in mind this is merely a rough draft and over the next several weeks I will be re-writing it. Hope you enjoyed it and have been thrown into the reality that is Emily Collins. All that was mentioned became an adaptation as to my own experiences while spending last week end in London riding the Underground and getting lost but, eventually finding my way back to Trafalgar Square.

Monday, September 1, 2008

A Little Time for Rain

Yesterday, as the afternoon began and the clouds came rolling in, I dropped my books on my desk and opened the window for a nice English breeze, but what I got was so much better. I first sat back to start a movie but was distracted by this calming rain that poured over the football field in the distance. A subtle, constant, charming, yet dreary rain that my eyes couldn't help but be mezmerized. The images, that I shall assume were shooting across my computer screen as the movie began, were of no importance. George Clooney himself could have walked in the room and ask me to attend a party with him and his deep voice would have been silenced by that calm, soft rain. As I sat there, eyes not blinking, I was overpowered with this since of utter peace and astonishment. I'm coming to realize, since I've arrived here in England, that the simple things really are so much grander; they are simply more important. As I sat there, watching the rain, I thought to myself that one would never see a rainfall like this back in America; slow, without flaw. Nothing in America is "slow" but rather everyone always goes at a fast pace, constantly out of breath, and by the end of the day are wondering "Where did my day go?" America has no time to sit down and watch the rain fall anymore. Or, I should say, they do but it seems they've been brainwashed to believe different. Not here. Not in the countryside of England. The people here make certain that they take deep, soothing breaths each day and if by some reason it may be raining (which, let's face it .... is quite often), they throw aside their papers to be written and their disputes to be had as a means to be at peace, even for but a short while.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

England's Influence on a Soul ....

Stepping into a rain puddle right off the coach, she's automatically consumed with that near intoxicating feeling that was felt just over a year ago. That feeling of actually knowing without a doubt that THIS, right here .... right now, is what everything has led her towards. That feeling of being utterly terrified to the bone, but still having hope that it will only get better and if there was any purpose for her life .... this was it. That feeling of water seeping deep into her shoe, that smell that she can't describe but knows is only smelt here and NO WHERE ELSE. She swings her bag round her shoulders while her eyes open as a means to not miss any object that may come into view. As she slides a hand in her pocket the other glides atop the stone walls and images in her mind come into view of all the heros that had done the same thing at one point in their lives. This only excites her. And just as she is nearly drunk with this experience of passion and awe, sounds of different slants of tongue make her drift elsewhere .... someplace she hasn't a clue nor the name of, but, of course, she follows it anyway.