Finally, the day was here – the world would stop moving. He couldn’t wait. Standing at the doors with his bag they opened with a hiss. It was only a small step, but it was the biggest one he’d taken in a year. Free from the confines and into the fresh air and onto concrete. The step jarred his spine and the scents of fresh air, asphalt, hot steel, dust and smog sniped at his sinuses. The unfiltered light so bright spots were before his eyes. His hand shielded his eyes, he swayed while everything remained still around him.
‘You look like you’re drunk?’ said the conductor dumping the duffel on the pavement.
‘It’s like I’ve got land-legs from being out at sea.’ He swivelled around smiling up at the sunshine kissing his skin. ‘It’s so warm, so bright, and so smelly.’
‘I imagine it would be for the likes of you.’ The conductor put down the large box filled with brushes beside the bag.
‘So what happens now?’ Looking at all his worldly possessions.
‘Not our concern. Here’s a card to call the office.’
‘I don’t have a phone.’
‘But, what about meal tickets?’
‘You’ll need cash. Can’t be that long since you’ve been out of society?’
‘It’s been a year.’
‘And now you’re like the rest of us who work for our food.’
‘I was working.’
‘Make any money?’
‘Sure, I sold heaps of my work. Hey, where do I collect my cash now I’m free?’ He didn’t need money on the inside.
‘Talk to the office. Good luck to you, lad, hope it was worth it.’ The train whistled loud. ‘All aboard.’
He’d been commissioned to paint passengers as part of the Train company’s marketing strategy, it was better than house-sitting. But still, it hurt watching what had become his home for a year just leave him behind.