Run out of the house sometimes as far as Richmond Road but that depends how late I am. Then it’s a brisk walk the rest of the way to the station and up onto the platform just has the train pulls in, timed to perfection.
Standing amidst the others, earphones, computer games, mobile phones, newspapers, books, sleep…anything to avoid communication with each other but we’re so close.
Pull through Moor Street and Snow Hill and the train is empty now. I choose a seat, row in front, row behind, two empty seats to my left. Nobody will come near my little cocoon now. I need my space it is an oasis. Choose a song, to chill, to think, to reflect, to enjoy. Close my eyes, 6 minutes of heaven.
Off at The Hawthorns and hurry to the tram but the clock says there’s 3 minutes to wait. 6 minutes later, feeling deceived and wounded by unpunctuality I am sitting back with the crowd but a more common crowd of friendly black country faces and accents not the stern office workers of the city anymore. But there is still the void between us as we travel.
The walk from the tram is too short. Less than two minutes. But I’m there now. My oasis is far behind but the interaction begins. Cleaner, receptionist, resident. All willing to talk, a community.