Breaking loose

"Ladies and Gentlemen, this train will soon be entering Reading station. This train will be terminating here. Reading. All change please!"

Phil woke up with a start as the announcement which had been floating around his mind for several minutes, slowly penetrated his mind. Looking around he realised several minutes must have past as there was one but himself left in the carriage. Through the window he could see the last of the passengers disappearing down the exit steps. He quickly gathered up his belongings and raced towards the train door. Too late! The train already began pulling away as he reached the door. He would have tried jumping down onto the platform but the door was locked firmly and despite all his attempts he could not open it. The train was shunted onto a small side track, to await its next duties, and once it had stopped Phil climbed down and started to make his way back along the track to the nearest platform. As he did so, he could see the train to Oxford left the station. Now he'd have to wait for the next one, and he wouldn't make it back in time for Mother's birthday party. She'd be furious with him; especially coming as it did after their argument over Julia.

It only took him a few minutes to reach the platform and he soon discovered that the next train would not arrive for another two hours. Sunday morning was obviously not a good time to travel. His mother had told him so. But he had scorned her words. He wanted to spend Julia's last evening in Bristol with her.

He soon found the waiting room and settled back into his seat; but not before setting the alarm on his wrist watch. Once again closed his eyes. The guard's words came back into his mind. "All change please! All change please!" Suddenly the guard appeared before him. "All change please! Sir, all change please!" Sir! Sir! Mr. Simmons. Mr. Simmons! The guard's face transformed itself into that of Dr. Bellson, his tutor at Bristol. "Mr Simmons, could you please repeat what I was just saying." Silence. "I thought as much. What I was saying Mr. Simmons was that we humans have a natural disinclination to change, which is why most major changes only come about as a result of some kind of crisis..." The pictures faded out but the words continued their work in his mind.

It wasn't a sudden awakening this time, more like a slow realisation that it was now or never. He'd known Julia for well over a year now. They'd been planning to get engaged once Phil started his two years articles in September. Then once a fully-fledged lawyer they could marry. Then came the bombshell. Julia had been offered a research position in Vienna. She'd be leaving. Encouraged by his mother Phil had tried to persuade himself that they could still carry on their relationship at a distance for two years. Vienna wasn't that far away, and flights were regular. But deep down he knew... Their last meeting just twelve hours early had been miserable. Julia had made no attempt to change his mind. She was too wise for that. She knew that had to come from him alone. He had walked her to the station where she was taking the train back up to Glasgow to visit her parents before going to Vienna. And Phil had given her a kiss before seeing her onto the train, and turning to the ticket office, where, like a dutiful son, he'd bought his ticket for Oxford and Mother's birthday party for the next day.

"... Most major changes only come about as a result of some kind of crisis..." Phil's crisis had come. It was now or never. Gathering up his belongings he stood up and went inside the station. There was a train north in just five minutes. No time to buy a ticket, now. But he could do that on the train, even if it did cost him more. And, of course, he didn't have any overnight things. But if he let himself worry about such details, he'd never get away. It really was now or never.


Wonderful, dramatic tensions in this! Powerful change closes the narrative!

8 November 2008 at 12:21  

this is beautifully written. Thankyou for sharing.

8 November 2008 at 12:59  

run phil run... run like your backside is on fire!!! you have no idea what awaits in a new time anew place....

8 November 2008 at 19:10  

Don't miss that train, Phil! Tomorrow is waiting for you.

8 November 2008 at 20:56  

Wow...I hope there's more! I'm dying to know what happens now....
A great SS post! Please continue....:)

Mine's up too now...

9 November 2008 at 23:43  

Man, Phil, you've got a lot in your life that needs to change. Including your ability to wake on time!

This is a neat piece because we so quickly relate to Phil. It's hard to not want to see good things happen for him.

10 November 2008 at 14:31  

That would be a very momentous change. Hope it works out for him!

11 November 2008 at 01:59  

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