Standing Room Only
“It’s busy today.”
“Standing room only.”
“Wish I drove.”
Isaac says all three sentences, exactly like the movie spy Austin Powers, one after the other with a second’s pause in-between. My smile gets wider as each one rolls off his tongue. Hoops laughs. We are alone in the first carriage on the last train out of downtown on a Sunday night and the driver must want to clock off.
It feels like he is racing between stations. At each of the stops near to the city we pull in with a rush, stop with a jerk and accelerate out with a surge.
I feel, we feel, like the train, rocking along at maximum speed with the future stretching forever in front of us, and nothing in front to slow us down. Great rock and roll shows will do that to you. The venue was packed and the dance floor in front of the stage heaved with bodies and we threw ourselves in and felt no cold, no pain, just joy and power, celebration and togetherness.
Now we are bruised and battered from the moshpit and our sweaty clothes chilled us in the cold air as we walked, first from the club to the 7-11 then to the train station. In the 7-11 an Indian man with tired baggy eyes and early grey at his temples watched while we choose refreshments for the ride home.
At the station we only had to wait for a minute before the train pulled in and we clambered aboard. There were other passengers but when we arrived they moved further down, seeing us as a threat. But right now my goodwill is boundless.
Hoops sips on his recovery drink of choice, a massive frozen slushie stained purple with a berry-flavoured syrup. He claims it helps him cool down after the frantic fission of the moshpit. I sip a coffee. It is cold outside, why take in ice and make yourself colder?
At the next station three young men get on our carriage and before the train has even reached speed one of them has deliberately grabbed Hoop’s slushie and thrown the purple ice in his face. No surprises there.
We fight of course, rolling and tumbling around the seats, using fists and boots and whatever is to hand. We three are tired from all the slam dancing and our doppelgangers are fresh so predictably, before the next stop, Isaac, Hoops and I are on the floor of the carriage in pain and surrender. Tasting blood and looking at the dirt and a trail of ants parading down the aisle between the seats it occurs to me that my feeling of bonhomie is gone and despite the earlier highlights the night has been ruined.
Hoops will disagree. He will find the evening’s conclusion perfectly acceptable. Isaac will make it funny when we talk about it later.
But me, well I just want to know, why can’t we all just be friends?