Track marks

I love hearing the train thunder and roar along the tracks, its lonely horn tooting a sad little cry as it storms along the edge of town, briefly blocking the silhouettes of gum trees and powerlines, while sharp glints of moonlight glance off the top of carriages and tarp-covered freight cars.

I lay in the dark, my arms folded behind my head, eyes closed, ears open to the thunking rhythm and squealing energy. My heart races as the sound takes me back to late, dark nights in dank, drippy train stations across suburbs and cities and identities.

I like these country trains best. The silent fields, native animals and weary truck drivers the only witnesses to its journey,as the train thunders through towns and cities, villages and nowheres, mostly, around here, while the moon looks down upon it.

As I lay in the dark, I envy that train, getting to see the trees and the fields where the clouds part long enough to allow the moon to expose them.

If I wasn’t terrified of serial killers, I would get my licence just so I could go and hang out, alone, in the bush, staring at trees and bugs and dirt, and not having to explain myself to the people who want to know why?

There is no why. I just really like staring at shit.

Unfortunately, there’s that whole thing about me having the very worst sense of direction in the history of mankind, so going out in the bush, alone, is probably the very worst thing I could do, unless my goal was to: probably break my ankle and then get eaten alive by ants.

Which it is not.

Of course, I digress, and thus take you back to trains:

Toot toot, motherfuckers.


What did you do last night? Spied on the neighbours, wrote about it on the internet. You?

Here I am, home at 9pm, lungs full of cigarette smoke, my mind full of nonsense and my guinness world record nails trying to tap them out on the keyboard.

I left everyone at the bar – not because I struggle with drinking or not drinking – because I struggle with talking when my mind is too busy making up its own stories for me to pay attention to people. It gets caught up creating the most wonderful inventions, only for me to realise after an hour’s silent brainstorming, that the same idea was patented many years ago and is a commonly known as “the wheel”.

As that discourse prattles on in my mind, people attempt to ask me questions, or engage my interest in a story of their own, but I only hear about a quarter of it before Homer Simpsoning my way through the rest of the conversation, my thought bubble of imagination cartooning away beside me.

Most times it doesn’t bother me. I can ignore the inside voice and its ridiculous ideas and manage to remain present throughout the evening, but occasions like tonight, I know that it’s just an uphill battle I’d be wiser to avoid.

That brings me here to the spare room, the neon-white light spilling over the keyboard, inviting insects to flit around its dangerous warmth while the cats flip about to reach them. The occasional crunch of legs and wings tells me they’re pretty good at this game. And also, gross.

The cricket-song blows through the open window, carried on the breath of a warm breeze that smells of jasmine and a distant barbecue. Their song is punctuated by the muffled laughter and shouts of people walking the street, smiling as they sip from bottles smuggled from happy hour bars.

The boom of cinema explosions burst from living room speakers, the room’s windows aglow with the shadow and shine of movie magic. Brakes squeal, gunshots ring out and men shout at each other – one-liners of corny encouragement.

The snick of cigarette lighters is followed by a gentle glow beneath verandahs as glasses clink against tables and silver bracelets ring against their companions, sliding down slender wrists to pool on the back of a hand.

The evening is alive with the sounds and smells of life being lived. There are worse ways I could spend my Friday night than chronicling them.