It’s a long trip into town. Sometimes I read but more often I just let my mind wander. I watch the world outside passing by and listen to the world inside. I overhear intimate things.
Two women sit behind me. I do not see them. I do not look. I imagine. They regather a broken conversation.
‘…and then he dropped me.’
‘Yep. Just like that.’
I imagine the emotions of the women. The anger. The sorrow perhaps. The righteousness of having been wronged.
‘And I thought he was reliable.’
‘Yeah, so did I.’ The voice is more rueful than sad. I’m sure she is beautiful. Undeserving of such treatment. I would never. No never.
There’s a commotion as passengers bustle on and off.
‘…and now he’s with Trish.’
‘You’re kidding. But she’s…’
‘I know. Not up to his standard.’
‘Actually I was thinking of yours.’
No. Not your standard at all.
The woman laughs.
I want to tell her she deserves better. I want to turn but I’m paralysed.
‘Quick this is us.’ The pair scuttle off the tram. I watch her friend helping her hobble to the academy. The National Ballet—I pass it every day. Her hair is in a tight bun, her foot is in a cast.
2 thoughts on “The listener”
I want to turn but I’m paralysed.
——You mean “I” am physically disabled and not confident enough even to talk to her?
In a sense. Don’t read ‘paralysed’ literally but rather as ‘unable to move’ (ie too nervous / selfconscious to turn towards the girls.