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It was loud as the train rumbled away. She looked up, brows furrowed, “Either you missed yours or I missed mine,” she said with a smile. “Let’s find out, shall we?” he replied, stepping on the escalator.
It was sunny upstairs on the platform. Eastbound and Westbound platforms were one and the same, with the trains stopping on either side. This meant they could both sit together one last time before they went their separate ways. He needed that. They found the bench in the very middle of the platform, crossectional so they weren’t facing away from the tracks. She sat to his right. “Mine is nine minutes away; when’s yours?” he asked, to which she replied, “Signboard says six minutes. I guess we missed your one then?” “I would’ve missed it on purpose anyway. I was hoping to sit here with your for a while before I left.”
He looked around, drinking in the sights around him. It was his first time at this station, but she assured him he was going to get home safe and sound, and soon. He was tired. He was hungry, and he was broke. He was also mildly sad.
“That’s nice,” he suddenly said.
“You see the scenery on our right-hand side,” he said, gesturing at the cluster of buildings, looking colorful but drab over time and weathering, “It’s so full of life, quite cluttered but with a lot of personality. Each building has a different signage, sometimes even two boards with one on each floor, and all those cars and people moving around adds so much to it.” She watched the scene on their right, agreeing with what he was saying. He continued, “And then if you look to the left,” he waited for her to look at what he was pointing towards, “We see a building, most probably a housing project, all painted in white and maybe a month from being completed. See how everything is neatly arranged and symmetrical to an extent, with a few shades of gray where there are railings? Lifeless, but very philosophical in the extreme contrasts of color and vibe, between the building and the patch of surrounding land we can see.”
She watched the building for a moment, lips pursed in concentration. “Okay, but why is it nice?” He chuckled, trying to put into words what he wanted to say. “It resembles the personalities of people, doesn’t it?” he asked, “With some people having a very emotional, cluttered mind and demeanour, full of life but still a little beaten up like that colorful neighbourhood on our right. It looks like it’s full, but at the same time welcoming enough to let more and more people in. People come for different reasons, people leave for more reasons still, but the neighbourhood stays, a testament to its purpose. Which was to be a hub, a home, and an integral part of people’s lives.” He saw her smile from the side of her face and smiled in turn.
“And then the buildings on our left is another type of personality. It is very systematic, proportionate and without any hassle, wear or tear. Sure, it’s made to be welcoming too, giving the hope to people that they might one day come by and stay forever, but with the construction still going on, it’s closed off. No one stays there, there’s no clash of colours so it looks safer and more secure. It looks trustworthy, a shrine for secrets people want to make there. It’s new, mayhap a new beginning for anybody who wants to move in there, but not yet. Not just yet. It tries to look complete but the supports are too obvious, the paint seems incomplete, the driveway is not yet paved either. But there is promise, a seductive hoping that when one manages to find himself a space there, everything is going to work out. It would be a dream come true.”
“But not just yet, eh?”
“Not just yet.”
They watched people walk around them for a while.
“Your train is going to stop on the side of the white buildings, right?” she asked and he nodded as he added, “It’s like we are going our separate ways on the sides that represent our personalities,” and he laughed. She interrupted him as she said, “Oh no, you are represented by the colorful side, always warm and welcoming, and I’m the other one, all organised and neat.” As soon as she said that, they felt the ground rumble with the approach of a train. “I guess that’s mine,” she said, getting up from their bench. He stood up and gave her a light, awkward hug, the only kind they give each other, however close they were. “It’s as if we are both going to the side of scenery that represents the other one, eh?” she said, as she started walking towards the open doors. He watched her, his eyes lost in the final moments of a story long in the telling. He watched his best friend go her own way, waved back at her as she found a seat and the train slowly pulled away.
He sat down, waiting for his ride home.
He waited, his mind’s turmoil settling down and clarity slowly taking over.
He smiled, knowing how lucky he was,
He left, his heart feeling nearly full and content, but not just yet.
Not just yet.
Axam Maumoon is a saxophonist from Male, Maldives. When not saxing, he writes short stories and poems and dabbles in photography. Much of his work, based on his inspiration in living in Malaysia, can be viewed on his blog, As I Live It.
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