The human who got 'hit' by a train in Hildenborough last night,
For some reason I envisage you as a man. A man in a long mac coat with a wretched briefcase crammed with papers, no doubt all crucial for some matter or another. You have a hat, too. But that may be a little much. I just feel you have a fedora situation going on. To hide your face. You want to hide your face somehow – maybe that would be with a fancy hat as I am picturing, maybe with a snazzy Ascot or a heavy woollen scarf. Maybe you just put your head as far down as you can, your chin touching the top of your chest, those bones hitting each other separated by a just few sheets of mere skin. You're very aware of your bones. Of your jaw, your breast plate and the ribs. Your spine. They can break, you know. You know this.
You just want to hide your face. Nobody can see you. If they saw you, they might see it. It being the immense sadness that sticks in your mind and has spread throughout every inch of you – it's been steadily spreading for a while now, weeks and months and years. You felt it begin in your brain, as these feelings often do. Just a dark cloud hovering, gathering mass and then settling in one spot. Then the feeling grew within itself, it spawned young, and thus all your innards slowly gave in to it. It was only this morning, when you awoke – perhaps in a comfy bed, beside a partner, with the sun streaming in your window, that you felt it had won. It had finally grasped your heart and turned it to crumbling stone. By the end of your day at work, it was dust.
Oh, if you could hear the people on this train talking now. Talking about you. I'm just in one carriage, on one train, headed home having been delayed by unknown reasons for almost half an hour. I bet you're the hot topic of conversation throughout the rest of this train, and on all the trains following and running parallel to it. All the trains with the tannoy announcements saying they're delayed.
I felt so depleted when I left work, so 'done'. I was happy, I was with friends, but I was empty and in need of home comforts urgently. So learning my train was delayed was almost physically painful. I cursed the trains, the station, and the whole Southeastern line. However, as soon as they made the announcement 'Platform One, all trains to Hastings...apologies for the delays...they are due to someone being hit by a train in Hildenborough...should be here in five minutes...' All my anger at being made late was gone.
I don't, and won't, talk about you the way some commuters might. The ones who accuse you and those who do what you do as 'selfish', 'nightmarish' or just plain 'inconvenient'. The latter being the worst adjective, in my opinion.
I say 'those who do what you do' because, my dear, I don't think you were simply 'hit' by a train. That's the station guard's way of saying you threw yourself in front of that train, as it came in to the station or was just passing through it, you jumped off the platform and the train collided with you mid-air. 'Hit' implies it was an accident. It wasn't. You wanted to do it. You either planned it in advance, or just let the moment take you. Whichever it was, you knew it was going to happen and you made it happen.
No, I couldn't say awful things. I have done in the past, but I have since realised how horrible it is to say that, to do that. To hate you. How could I? You may be the reason I'm late home, the reason so many of us are late home or late to a dinner date or late to a party or late to a chilled evening in with a significant other...but you did this.
I have myself had those thoughts before, when standing on a train platform. Of course I have. I think everyone has, to some degree, if only to think 'oh good lord, I could never do that'. I've considered it but briefly, on a London Underground platform when we could all hear the train rushing through the tunnel and knew its arrival was imminent. As soon as the thought crossed my mind, though, my whole body tensed and I was struck with the most immense and horrible chills. The hot yet freezing sensation surged through my veins and something screamed at me to stay back. My mind – buggered up as it is, trust me my friend – was stopping me. I wouldn't pass the yellow line. I hate that yellow line anyway, I hate people who stand just a fraction beyond it and thus terrify all their fellow platform dwellers just for a moment, because we all think 'shit, will they do that?'
I think as long as your mind and body are afraid of stepping out off the side, onto the tracks, then you won't do it. I hope that's the case, anyway. As long as you get that sudden freezing feeling of ultimate dread, and maybe that frantic clip show of happy moments you've had in your life played to you inside your eyelids, then you'll be safe.
But then there are some like you, you the 'anonymous fatality', who will not care in the slightest and not have any part of their mind or body reach out somehow to stop them as they inch closer and closer to the edge. And that, well that is the most heartbreaking thing about all this.
Sir/madam, I hope oh how I hope that you are in a better place now. That you are happy and among friends. I don't personally believe in Heaven or Hell, but I like to think you are in some beyond atmosphere and you are cared for appropriately there. Maybe the others, your fellow jumpers, are there too and they're all sharing their experiences and regrets or triumphs. Maybe they're making sense of it all.
I wish you all the best, and I wish your friends and family down on my level, here on this planet, all the luck and all the strength dealing and carrying on now. And peace.
The girl on the delayed 18:29 service, in the eighth carriage. x