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Tubeless tube

(i)

The door of the underground train gave a knowing hiss before slamming shut. Slowly, the train crawls to life and the soothing sound of the clattering wheels puts my heart at ease, along with those of my fellow London commuters.


Everynight I make the same painstaking journey home, tonight was no different. Just one of the many ceaseless routine that plagues my life. I think of Catherine, my textbook wife, waiting for me at home, she finishes work at three everyday without fail, and would have usually adorned the dining table with her non so spectacular culinary skills by the time I get home around seven. Tonight, I am sure, was going to be no different.


The train comes to a foreboding halt at Victoria station, the usual load of passengers board the train. Each of them wears a forlorn face, a recurring theme that I have noticed among London commuters. A lady dressed in radiant white is rushing towards the closing door, she makes it, barely. I wonder aloud why she couldn't wait for just one more minute instead, as if the extra minute that she has gained with her audacious lunge would have enhanced her life any way.


This might have attracted her attention, unwelcomed I must add. As she proceeds towards the seat next to me. I gave a cynical shrug of the shoulder to show my disapproval. To my surprise, she replied with a speenless smile. I managed to squeeze to guilty looking smile, and thought about removing myself from this predicament by moving away, I thought better.


What happened next took me by complete surprise. She proceeded to introduce herself, "Hi, my name is Sharon". I stared at her outstretched hand in utter disbelief, conversations amongst fellow London underground commuters is so rare that it has become somewhat taboo. All along, whilst I was trying to take in the scale of this savage attempt at conversation, her smile never flinched an inch, and she was beginning to take on a motherly aura.


Slowly, my hand crawls its way to her. Her shake was firm. "Hi, I'm....Jake", I uttered weakly.


"Nice to meet you Jake, you look troubled, whats up?", she prodded.


I was about to point out the fact the train itself has a funereal aura to it, no one is smiling, it is almost forbidden. Somehow, her smile seemed to persuade me to do otherwise. I gave a sigh, "Just a long day really".


I don't know what compelled me, but I continued,"It's strange really, I don't want to go home. It's not....it's not happy there". I struggle to see how anyone would understand anything from that sentence. But she seemed to grasped the melancholy behind it straight away.


She continued to wear the lambent smile on her face, which was almost turning into a smirk, so much so that it was beggining to get on my nerve again. She seemed to be mocking my desolation. Yet, her eerie silence was sedating and soothing almost. I waited for a response.


The silence was rising to a crescendo, as