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A short story about commuting

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In France, these days, all six major lines of public transportations are on strike due to protests of public workers. In support of French citizens, stuck on their way to work, The Circular publishes this little story, to read on the DART or the bus.


Commuting, that’s what she hated the most.

Photo by Jordan Harrison from Pexels

As per escape rooms, it had been her answer on the teambuilding quiz; every newcomer had had to come up with a “fun fact” about themselves as well as what they loved and dreaded the most.

That corporate spirit thing was not her thing. She had gone through the screening process pretty easily.

All four meetings and seminars, she had attended, complying with the requirements of what was deemed adequate corporate behaviour.

She had known the position was not for her at the fourth question into the form, what kind of expertise would she bring into the advertising team? What was her difference?

Her difference? Her expertise?

She had been trying so hard to make herself look like everybody else; being quirky is good but for the personal sphere …

As for her expertise, she was a witty 23-year-old, capable of making a mean gin and tonic pretty much anywhere, and her neighbours had never complained about her singing in the shower. She was an expert Joker …

The extra card in the deck, the one that’s fun and scary at the same time.

The one that is completely useless most of the time, but that you’d bring out of your sleeve when in need of cheating.

That’s what she felt like, stepping into the 8.08 pm. The train wasn’t too crowded and she sat down in one of the empty booths, the furthest from the doors.

Apart from the little existential crisis, she was having at the moment, this first day at work had not been too bad, the welcoming team was well, too welcoming of course. To be fair, overenthusiastic people had always freaked her out anyways.

Only two guys had tried hitting on her, and by the end of the day, she had spotted one or two acceptable potential friends in the overachiever pond that was the intern’s open space.

The kitchen area had two Nespresso machines, if she could get her daily fix in free coffee pods, she would potentially survive the six months internship she had managed to secure in the biggest advertising firm of the city.

by Martin Addison

“May I see you travel pass, Miss? “

“Yes. I mean, of course, just give me a second.”

She began wrestling her bag for a wallet, that’s where the damned ticket must have been put away. Of course, the controller would not check other people’s ticket making her the only thing holding him back and therefore the whole wagon…

First came the leftover tuna and corn sandwich, then her thermos with coffee, after that it was her copy of Sapiens, everybody seemed to have read that book; carrying it around would probably make seem smarter, though the unfortunate copy had never been opened.

Then came: her sunglasses, a bright red lipstick she had forgotten to apply in the morning, that keychain she had lost like three years ago, a broken phone charger, two tampons, her apartment card and then her wallet.

As soon as she grabbed it, she remembered … The ticket was in her coat pocket.

“That way you won’t need to empty your whole bag to find it”. What a stupid thing to think whilst boarding a train.

She finally handed the half ripped ticket to the controller, he was looking at her as you would look at puppy under the rain, a mix of pity and amusement. Today really was not her day.

Wolverhampton Station by Elliott Brown

Grabbing her single hear working earphone, she turn her music on and leant on the window frame. Her timing was impeccable, as the train was leaving the station, the rain began pouring on the rails, drawing a curting of streaming water over the edges of the window.

As the stops unfolded before the window, the train slowly began its descent alongside the shores. That was her favourite part of the journey, the sea had turned emerald green, and it looked like frothy foam clouds were riding the waves. The show was scarily stunning. It was like an eerie scene was unfolding in front of the passengers of the 8.08 pm.

And to say that she had spent her day analysing customer behaviours regarding this stupid new line of perfume.

Mesmerized by the show, she hadn’t even realised the train had stopped.

By Jeremy Grott

She was made aware of that very fact when it began raining inside the train.

In the process of taking off their jacket, the person who had just sat down next to her had also dumped the equivalent of two pints of water on her lap.

Appearing out of of the raincoat, a dimpled smile and very white teeth uttered an apology whilst handing her a tissue. Altogether very annoyed, she couldn’t not notice the fact that his tissue was fabric-made, with initials in the corner – how old school of that fool.

“My apologies, you’ve seen the weather, it’s a beautiful mess out there!”

He was carrying a camera like you would carry a newborn, was soaked to the bone and had dark hair but it’s not important. Her bag was ruined, the already wrinkly wallet was dripping wet, the book was soaked. He picked it up from her hands :

“Well, I’m sorry about your book but you should know that the end is completely overrated”

The jerk was probably right …

“Oh really? And what would you know?”

He opened his mouth to answer but she didn’t hear the answer. The train brutally stoped; screeching brakes, screaming people, glass flying everywhere and then the pain, in her leg, it was unbearable.

A ringing tone in her ears brought her back to reality. The railway car was lying on its side, the train had derailed, towards the beachside she thought …

But no, it was her alarm, every day, at 5.30 am for the past two years, it had been that way.

She began dressing up and hesitated for a second, and applied a nice coat of red lipstick.

“Just in case, I meet someone, on the train”

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