I’m not sure what I was doing with this piece, just letting my mind wander this morning, a little fantasy playing in my head on my way to work so this stemmed from real life and went totally off course.
The Red Tram
I woke up late like I meant to, but regretted it as soon as I did. I didn’t feel any more awake as the thought of heading to work induced a coma in my brain that not even my shower could wash away.
And I knew I’d feel like I was chasing time for the rest of the day.
On the tram, there was a kind of haze floating amongst the passengers, all crammed in. I’d expected less as most people ought to be at work by now but it occurred to me that I wasn’t the only one with the same idea.
All around Melbourne, many of us had woken up late, preferring to chase the day in return for a little more sleep. I bet they resented us all for being slack and unmotivated but what would it be like if we didn’t turn up at all?
What if the tram driver was later than us all? Would it stand idle? Would it drive itself?
What if we were floating along and the tram turned the other away? We’d be more than a little late. The tram would suddenly turn red, an invisible paint brush coating it all over and the red tram would glide away from the city to wherever we wanted to go. Not work, that was for sure.
The city would have a hole in it, the later-comers nowhere to be seen, not enough to serve coffee, half the call-centres empty.
And in my fantasy, I would drive the tram with my mind as I read a paperback in the back corner. It would turn and cross tracks because that’s what I’d want it to do. I’d drive it to Maribyrnong despite the network of tracks not connecting like that.
I wanted to do something productive, more than anything I could do in the city. The detention centre fences would rise on the horizon. They’d be too strong for bare hands (but maybe not bear hands) but a red tram in my control could plough through and set them free.
The wondrous eyes of people who’d never been free would climb on the tram and come with me. You see, they’d never lived a life where someone’s boot wasn’t on their back from home to here. There was always some army, some occupation, some form of detention or isolation.
In my red tram, we would float further away. I would look back and see. Screens of spreadsheets and databases would float over Melbourne’s skyline like holograms and reminders of what I was running away from.
But soon the tram would stop and let people off, people would slink back to reality and soon it would just be me, alone, in my red tram fantasy. It would be lonely and less what I wanted it to be.
And finally, I would get off. The tram would dissolve with my little dream. I would get back on a tram, back to the city. This new grey tram would grate and resist every kilometre back to work – and there were still too many hours in the day to go.
I would play loud music in my ears, drowning out the horrible sounds. The guitar strings would pull my nerves tight, bringing back into focus reality.
But my mind was still on that red tram that rode me out of the city.
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