Tuesday, January 17

The Hours

ON THE edge of the village is the primary school, which is beside the railway lines. After the school playground is a small field of rich green grass. In the small field is a small lake that is almost a perfect rectangle. A tree, that looks to be an oak but is most likely an imposter, hovers possessively over the small lake. The land after the school flattens and you can see for some miles around.
It is difficult to tell if they are connected but near the small lake is a thin and trembling stream. It trickles through the sodden grass. It seems to nestle the village in its one arm.
Over the stream, away from the village, is a vast farmer’s field. The field is so big and wide that you wonder if the farmer could live off of that one crop alone. His house sits at one end and—like the oak—guards over it watchfully. He has no need for scarecrows.
On my train heading towards the city, I was not drawn to the field or the rectangular lake but something human in-between.
A boy and a girl.
Over the stream is a bridge. However, “bridge” is a voluptuous word for what it is I saw. It is a wide concrete slab laid flat. It is for the dog-walkers, I suppose, those dragged along first thing in the morning by something more awake than them.
On the bridge sat a boy and a girl. They only sat on the bridge without its handrail so that their legs dangled over the side; hers were crossed at the ankle; his swung. They were in the middle of their adolescence. They did not hold hands or pet each other because they were in the middle of nowhere and nobody could see them.
They sat there side-by-side, flanks touching.
Was it possible they weren’t even talking? They just floated with the concrete bridge over the stream’s trembling water.
From my train I craned my neck to try and look at them for as long as I could but they very quickly passed in and out of my view. I was very jealous. Envy boiled into my blood and warmed all of my organs.
(If they did not last forever, then I wished they would remember each other in years to come. Him, in some meeting room, remembering her smile as he was pouring a cup of coffee. Or her walking home after a night out and flinching in joy at the memory of his silent smile or something else.
Out of view, I sunk back into my chair and stared ahead. How such simplicity stirred me out of the hours and made me wish for a lot that was not mine.)

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