October 22nd, 2003


Scene From the Train.

Five in the afternoon, the carriage packed, people doing their best to avoid eye contact: mobile phones, books, newspapers, sleep, and music.

Me, I stood. Up against the carriage door, across from a young woman of twenty three, twenty four, Indian, and wearing black pants and a dark red sweater. She was not a particularly pretty girl--homely is the word I'm looking for, but that's not really a surprise. Most people are homely. However, she had the most amazing fingers: long, slender, and with perfectly clipped nails painted the same dark red colour of her sweater. It's those fingers that catch my attention, and I watch them shift around her face, her gaze off in imagination the entire time, and remaining so even when her right index finger pushed up into her right nostril. Up to the first knuckle. Then out, where it was rubbed against her thumb.

The drifting movement of her hand resumed. Everyone in the carriage continued to read, sleep, and listen to music while I stood and watched the girl, with her same finger, push into her left nostril. Then she withdrew. Then she rubbed it against her index finger. Then the movement around her face resumed, until her finger returned to the right nostril. This went on for ten minutes, right, then left, repeated, hypnotic and audacious, and it was as if I was the only one who noticed.

Finally, having cleared out her nostrils, having freed them from whatever it was that was in there, her index finger began to trace the outline of her lips. Lips that were coloured to match her sweater and nails. Lips that opened slightly every now and then, and tasted the end of the nail.

The train from Central to Parramatta is twenty five minutes when there is one stop at Redfern. It began when the train left Central, and she was still circling those lips when I left.
  • Current Music
    Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - Red Eyes and Tears.