Where I’m not meant to be

I’m writing to think about something else that isn’t thinking about social media and dating which numb my mind. To not think about the place where I spend most of my week sitting in, I want to write even more and I want to be where I’m meant to be.

I think about people who have a passion and then succeed at it and I imagine them staying up late at night burning the candle at both ends until they free themselves because there is no gain without struggle or freedom without a fight. Those who succeed only get there with struggle right? You have to endure tears and pain to get it right. Right?

And then I wonder if I just float through life as I am, not devastated and relatively comfortable, can I live with this feeling that follows me around like some masked menace? And while sometimes I forget he’s there, as soon as I turn around he’s poking around and smirking at me like some smug asshole.

I know I don’t fit, that much is obvious and it’s pointed out to me everyday. I used to think it was socially but recently I’m realising that it’s more to do with what my place is in the world. Those around me, like the characters in a dream are very much aware of an outsider – they turn to me and say, “Why are you doing this? You know you’re meant to be doing something else right?” All I can reply is by using humour to deflect the fact that I know but I don’t know where.

My world falls quiet and everyone stops moving, speaking and expressing. They turn to me and each and every one of them holds up a sign that reads, WRONG WAY.

What am I? An imposter? A wolf in sheep’s clothing? A cuckoo or a Lyrebird? Possibly a chameleon? Sitting and waiting, planning, or just copying because mirroring is all I know.

You take a left step so I take a left step too.

You reach for coffee so I reach for coffee too.

You suggest this a holiday so I suggest that very same holiday.

Your eyes thin slightly in suspicion and so do mine.

You laugh and then I laugh.

I even express the slight discomfort that comes across one’s face when they feel they are being mirrored. Or is it you that is mirroring me? Deep down you know but you’re not sure enough to say anything and that’s all I need.

Now the train tells me I’m at where I’m not meant to be and I get off one more time. For another day I tell myself that maybe I take life a little too seriously and think a little too much. I see what’s ahead and I can’t stop chewing the inside of my mouth. At this very moment when no one is watching, I’m not copying anyone.

Wall

I made this wall to keep the harm out, it has served me well but there is something else. After years behind the wall, I’m getting this growing sense that I am somehow missing out.

I see you and you see me but as we go to touch, something stops us.

The wall keeps you out too.

Now I sit here in my space where I used to feel so safe. But now, it’s not just that I’m missing out but something else – I feel something sinister here with me, invisible to my eyes as I look around.

It’s just me, there is nothing in here, what could it be?
That’s when I catch a glimpse in the reflection of the glass.
It is in me, it has been growing in me and changing me.

I realise now is the time to let down the walls. I’m not ready but I don’t think I will ever be.

All I know if I don’t I will cease to be me.

7:13 am

I get to the platform with 2-3 minutes spare and take my usual place between the right side of the ticket barrier and the toilet block.

The mother who wears adidas originals as her comfy commuting shoes is standing and chatting with her three daughters who are already exceeding her in height.

They laugh and always seem to look my way as I take my place.

The two guys a little closer to the ticket barrier stand right near the edge of platform and seem to be talking business as usual. The look like they really know what they’re talking about and will likely tell you that you’ve got it wrong.

The train pulls up and today it’s one of the old Comeng trains that might be retrofitted.

I hop on and everyone is there doing their usual thing.

The two guys have gotten onto the carriage next to me but the mother and girls get on my carriage and stand slightly over from the door which is going to be opening every stop until North Melbourne.

The young, shorter guy who always wears shorts and no socks with his shoes but a down jacket is on his phone, probably looking through Facebook leaning against the door on the side of the train where the doors won’t open.

I pull out my kindle and start reading my book and usually I’m on the side of the train where the doors don’t open, preferably against a wall but that’s prime real estate which is usually all but gone by the time the train pulls in to Moonee Ponds.

At Ascot Vale about three friends of the school girls get on and they all greet the mother who slowly steps back as the circle opens, the new arrivals join and she takes a step back. The mother is now going to spend the rest of the time I’m on the train looking in as an outsider while her daughters start talking about a world far from her own. Every now and then the mother will try to make eye contact with someone in the circle before pulling her phone out to play candy crush or some Harry Potter mobile game.

One day, one day.

At Newmarket the girl with olive skin gets and assumes her usual power stance in the middle of the carriage. This girl gets on the same connecting train with me at North Melbourne. She generally doesn’t take her backpack off even when the train is crowded and for that I’m kind of not a fan.

At Kensington the young boy gets on with either his mother or father. They both carry his bag for him while he looks out the window of the train door and rattles out observations about the pattern of train departures from North Melbourne. The school bag his parents carry is nearly as big as him.

At North Melbourne a bunch of us get off and proceed up the stairs. It’s always the guy with the shorts, no socks with shoes and the olive skin girl who end up on the same platform with me, the others continue on the loop.

Just as I get to the top of the escalators, like clock work the young guy with some kind of physical disability is making his way along the rail of the concourse before heading down.

There’s never enough room on the middle escalators so you can’t really stand to the left or people get annoyed as they rush for their trains bound for Southern Cross or Flinders.

The Metro lady is standing with her microphone pleading with people not to congregate around the base of the escalators and move down the platform.

My side of the platform is quiet and I wait for the 7:28 train because I usually just miss the 7:22 train unless it’s one or two minutes late.

Between 3am and 5am

I wake up with a start and I know it’s way before my alarm. In fact, I have a hunch I already know what the time is.
Rolling to my left side slowly, I reach over to the bedside table and my finger taps the screen of my phone. The phone is awakened by my touch bringing a ghostly illumination to the room.

3:27am.

I knew it.

Something to do with my lungs – grieving and sadness.
What am I grieving and what can’t I let go of?

The phone screen shuts off and I’m plunged into darkness again.