Synaesthesia Magazine Cities - Page 28

The Order of Things

by Amber Koski

“Can you put out your cigarette?” The Bedford conductor asked as he kicked the grit on platform four, spreading it with his shoes.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t see a sign.” I replied in my best American accent, sure that my ignorance in this country would free me from having to pay any fines. I slid my right hand into my grey glove.

After my late father’s second heart attack I asked him to take care of himself, and now I’m flicking a stubbed cigarette filter into the train track gulley. Because I’m young I can smoke, and if I stop I won’t die like he did, hands wrenching at his heart with a prematurely wrinkled face—knotted up; he lay sprawled out on the kitchen floor for three days before anyone bothered to come by and check on him. I don’t blame myself for not finding him. After all the years quarreling, I’d stopped donating my energy to his fading life. You can’t help someone who has their death circled on the calendar.

The next train to arrive at platform four will be the 13:39 train to Market Harborough.

A single door slid aside, into the train’s wall-pocket. I lugged my suitcase up onto the deck, minding the gap, using all my weight to shove it into the narrow coach alley. I could either drag my heavy bag down the walkway, possibly smacking each aisle-seat passenger in the process, or prop myself into the disabled corner slot hoping no one in need would come aboard.

I half-rested on top of my case, worried the old wheels would shift underneath propelling me into the young woman sitting across the aisle. She picked at the skin around her nails, something I was also guilty of; and when blood would spring from my raw, dry fingers a hot anxiety would rush through me. To avoid staining my clothing I’d suckle the ferric flavored spot.