The first morning of autumn galloped through the vale, rolled over the hills and tumbled onto the towns and villages that sat scattered in the valley. Dragging its chilly winds behind itself, the new season murdered any trace of summer that had been left upon the air. With a great gust, it flung the yellowing leaves over the vale, the crisp confetti finding even the almond orchard, hidden at the edge of the valley, and the witches dozing inside. Elsie woke first.
I’m am not alone, I’m sure, in the association of colouring with childhood. Perhaps it’s because I wore away many a whimsical hour in my youth with my tiny fingers clasped around my favourite triangle shaped Fabercastel pencils. So many hours I spent, pigment poised upon the patterned page, whittling down the white until it’s previously bleached surface was perfectly full of colour. I’m an adult now. And, since my childhood, I have grown up and grown away from colouring-in pencils. As a (sometimes) serious, adulty person who works in a very serious, very mature, very adulty office supply store, I have recently noticed something truly baffling: business people are buying colouring-in pencils!
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.