March 9th, 2004


Notes from a train

Bright lights out the window.  Sodium yellow stars flocking together, glimpsed suddenly as we streak through the night, headed for home.

Sleep pulls me in like a wave, but I know that I can't fall yet - not enough time to fall seriously into slumber, not when I'll arrive in Edinburgh in less than an hour.

Caught somewhere in between, I feel fuzzed, my brain the texture of a tongue turned brown and cracked by disease and dry air.  Not a feeling I like, but one I feel altogether too used to - those nights where I can't sleep or won't sleep or just plain don't sleep - aware that I should be tucked in, warm covers and cold sheets waiting somewhere for me but still just slightly out of reach.

People cluster along the train, snippets of conversation mixed and remixed to a constant backdrop of motor-hum and wheel-clank.  Strange faces and unreal voices talking 'this n that', round and round and round.  We stop, the people change, some off, some on.  But listen - the conversation sounds the same.

More lights, less lights, car lights, street lights.  Towns end, villages begin, roads sweep in from the side, pace us for a while and then depart, their windings taking them to unseen endings.  Off in the distance a light, suspended in mid air.  Could be anything, could be nothing.  At this distance, who can tell?

Parallax plays a part - when things get too near they blur into lines, painted across an unmoving backdrop of indistinct shadows.  You think you can tell distance by movement, but with this much darkness, who can tell what the depth is?

Inspiration runs dry - still miles from our destination, still a long way from home, a litany of tasks to be completed before sleep can be achieved, and even then an awareness that it won't be enough sleep.  Not tonight.

Maybe tomorrow.