It was Friday. I boarded the train like every Friday, and sat on it with headphones in like every Friday, just waiting till I could leave the city behind for those two glorious days.
The cool of the glass against my cheek and Leonard Cohen crooning in my ear helped the city fade into the past, and for a while, I slept.
I awoke with a start.
I get off at the last stop, the woman next to me was saying, and I wondered when she got there.
Would you be able to help me out when we get there?
I said yes, you always do.
Later again, Orpington, we’re almost there, she says: it’s light out.
I don’t reply; she doesn’t mind.
I haven’t told my family yet. It could be slow, and I want it to be a surprise. But I know that it’s light out.
It’s just gone noon, I say finally, and she smiles.
Noon… So bright, and so beautiful, she says.
I turn back to the glass.
It’s been a while now (Sevenoaks) twelve years. I wonder what the world is like. I wonder if it is as colourful as I remember.
She is talking again. I don’t reply, but I am listening.
How old are you? She asks, and I answer: twenty seven.
You’re older than me, she says. I’m only twenty.
From here, I say, that’s not so much of a gap. But we both know a gap is always a gap.
What colour is my shirt? She asks, suddenly.
It’s blue, and I tell her so. She nods thoughtfully.
What kind of blue?
I know the answer before I can process the question: aquamarine.
Thank you, she says.
The doctor says soon I’ll be seeings shapes too. Shadows. Not just the light.
I smile, nod. We are at our station: Tunbridge Wells.
And then full sight. Sorry, will you take me to the taxi rank? I’ll be fine from there.
It’s then I see the white stick she clutches, wonder how I didn’t see it before.
Okay, I say, feeling bad.
What is your name? She asks, as I slip her into the car.
Drew, I reply, because I don’t like Andrew.
I’m Frances, she says. Millbank. I hope I see you sometime.
Nelson Road, number thirty four, I say to her; when you can.
I get home. Ellie sits at the table, humming and tapping.
I met a girl today, I say to her. You’d like her. She said she could see light again.
Ellie’s turned towards the sound of my voice. She doesn’t quite know where I am, but she smiles.
Just a little something I wrote on the train.