Space invader. (447)


Distracting brightly coloured bags preceded what can only be described as intention. An intent that paradoxically was being pulled towards an empty seat as if the seat was willing the bag carrier to fill it’s void. A space existed between two people sitting either side of the surprisingly vacant area on the busy rush hour train.

The space engulfed the bags as they sank between the two humans who did nothing apart from emit a barely perceptible reaction to the arrival that only served to shape the space further and made navigating into it all the more challenging. Immediately the bags jostled for new positions on the bag carrier’s thighs as they went from vertical to horizontal.  Formatting themselves into a position in order to organise themselves, using bent legs as a temporary platform. Governed by what in reality was only vacant space while trying not to impose beyond an imaginary perimeter that only revealed itself through carefully considered actions, like when a mime artist encounters a wall that only they can see.

In their new position, the bags piled high and at the top was a concealed face, tired eyes making an appearance between the gap in an olive green woollen scarf, blue disposable but overused face mask clung around their mouth and nose and a teal beret was pulled right down over their brow. They repositioned a bag between their feet on the floor but the others remained slung cross body or tethered around their wrist as if strategically positioned in case they needed to leap from the seat with only a moment’s notice.

They searched instinctively for the zip pull on the top of the blue leather barrel bag, feeling rather than looking, a rapidly fumbling hand trying both sides to locate it before grasping the familiar finger and thumb sized metal bar. They tugged it open and instantly their hand disappeared inside the opening they had revealed, quickly locating something, which just as instantly revealed itself as they pulled it free from the blue bag. The smart phone immediately became the focus of their world, the palm sized device appeared to expanded physical space as they immediately relaxed, subconsciously transitioning to somewhere much more comfortable than the tight physical reality they now occupied.

I wondered where the device was transporting them to this time as the train eased its way out of the station. The brightly lit platform transitioned to the darkness of the tunnel as a series of cinematic wipes, a fitting metaphor as our physical selves continued our journey onwards, while our (sub)conscious selves disconnected to engage with the many virtual destinations held conveniently in the palm of our hand.

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