'So, do you know what you're doing, madam?' The guard says. He nods at my ticket.
'Ha! Do I ever know what I'm doing?!' I giggle, but his face remains blank. I forget that you'd probably have to know me, or at least see me on a daily basis, to understand the joke. Even then, you probably wouldn't laugh. My friends certainly wouldn't laugh. They'd sigh and roll their eyes, as though worrying about me and my dreadful choices keeps them up at night and they are compelled to exhale suddenly and sharply several times a day to inform, then remind me of this.
I know what I want to be doing, I want to say. I know where I should be, even if I do change my mind every other day. I know where I want to end up, and I know what I have to do to get there. Work my sweet arse off, sacrifice all that makes me happy, write 500 words per day, keep eating, get enough sleep, don't fuck it up (not again). Kiss, play, drink, love. Study, write, tweet, work. Get money, get smart. The finish line is in sight. The gown is hung up, waiting. Don't ruin it now.
He means changing at London Waterloo. Walking across the bridge and down the slopes alongside the sensible, together and hard-working commuters. The office clowns. The drunk-at-lunchtime bosses. The underpaid underlings. The people I will never be. The life I never want.
He means waiting twenty minutes on the platform, patiently, watching time tick by. Minutes I'll never get back. Seconds that could be spent elsewhere, with the people I love, or writing more words.
He means getting a Southeastern train to my hometown, not falling asleep and missing my stop, not listening to the happy carefree conversation all around me. Not spending the one hundred minutes of my journey panicking about my life, worrying about what I'm doing. He only wants one clear answer. He doesn't care.
Do you know what you're doing?
Yes, yes of course I do.