The train station had an eerie, iridescent sheen that morning. The metallic turnstiles glistened, cold and silent, waiting with patience, waiting to be chosen. So, too, did the dawn staff, yawning and frozen, mid-sip of Styrofoam bitterness, behind the far counters; more like statues than people, they waited patiently. Silently. As I sauntered from the platform, and passed the churning ticket machine, the loneliness stung … It assaulted me in that instant: the all-encompassing stillness. The six a.m. silence kissed the floors and the walls. It caressed the dusty air. As the potency became more obvious, it built. The noise ricocheted towards me, bouncing off the walls, and pounding upon my ear drums. My senses were deafened with whispers of bellowing nothing. As I felt each tap, tap, tap of my shoe on the cold marble floor, the metronome surfaced.
From the left, the flash of a secondary commuter—the strings began their slow crescendo. Smooth and swift and sad, they built, drawing somberly across their metal cords, eclipsing the silence. As the lonely violin played its morbid tune, I took a closer look at the solitary girl, padding across the platform. A purple bruise adorned her cheek. As she pulled her scarf low over her face, the strings rang with a high screech. A tear ran down one cheek. With every drop, the melody quickened, complimenting the tap, tap, tapping of my metronome.
Another commuter ahead. Stood still and waiting: the parent of a tiny toddler paying in the beaming, all-encompassing sunlight. A cheerful flute joined the sad violin. Juxtaposed, they seemed to flatter each other:curtsying and crying in euphonic sympathy. Distracted, off course, I waltzed towards the pair—the rhythmic tapping of my metronome shaky, but consistent. Drawn closer to the flute, I stepped into the beaming sunlight of the high stone windows. Clothed in warmth I stood for a moment, inattentive and content.
Then the flood began.
The doors burst opened on the morning express and the orchestral wave washed over the empty station. Trumpets tooted and bells rung. My sunshine washed away too quickly for my fingers to scoop it back. The child was gone, and the parent too: the jubilant flute silenced by its louder siblings. The drums boomed and the woodwinds roared. A triangle rang to the left, and cymbals soared clanging past to the right.
Instrumental chaos ran in every direction. Some up the stairs, some out the doors, some around the corner, some zooming past and back through the turnstiles to catch another train. Thrown, bruised, pushed: the tide battered me around the station. My metronome trembled.
From the fray rose a low booming, louder than any other noise in the chaotic foyer. A middle aged man with dirty clothes and a collection can dragged his feet as he walked across his shining, marble reflection; his intention was neither arrival nor departure, amid the quickening blurs that eclipsed him were he stood. He was merely happy to be present in the warm station. The drums rose too, less wobbly, less meek than my metronome.
The crescendo climbed, throbbing around the spinning foyer. Turning on the spot, I could not help the barrage of sound, my feet still rhythmically tapping. I clasped my hands over my ears. The music and commuters swelled. I could not block them out—I suffocated in the bombardment. Deafened, now, by sound—so many sounds, my tiny metronome could not keep up. The capacity swelled. The pressure rose. Above the waiting benches, above train-line signs, above the stone Victorian windows. And I, at the bottom. My knees buckled as the tap, tap, tapping sunk to its end—drowning in the harmony of the once silent station.
This piece of writing was created in the Spring of 2014.