The Morning After: Trains and Fiction

screen-shot-2016-10-08-at-08-19-24Last night’s gig – Less Than Jake and The Skints at Brixton Academy – was predictably/characteristically-amazing. Beforehand I ate a fried chicken honey butter bacon burger with fries and a Red Stripe, which itself had followed a locally-brewed Brixton ale. At the venue I bought a new Skints shirt, LTJ socks, and got crushed at the front whilst shouting along the entire time.

Do you ever go to gigs where you can feel your voice isn’t really your normal, controlled voice, but you are in fact doing nothing more than automatically/instinctively forcing sound out to match the words? It’s almost like an out of body experience. Or is that just me?

I made friends with some people in the crowd, and afterwards we went to a pub on Coldharbour Lane for a drink. I crashed at one of their flats and got a train back home first thing this morning; doing something I’ve never done before. Having found myself at Waterloo station with a flat mobile and nothing to read, I went into Smith’s and bought a bestseller. I picked up The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, about which I’ve been hearing positive things, and began reading it – on the train..

I had no idea what it’s about or what to expect. I’m some 50 pages in and, although I’m trainenjoying it, it feels like something I’m actually not yet ready to read. Without giving anything away, here are a few lines which have struck me.

In the mornings we’d swim the half-mile to the little island in the bay, make love on secret hidden beaches…

Sometimes I catch myself trying to remember the last time I had meaningful physical contact with another person, just a hug or a heartfelt squeeze of my hand, and my heart twitches.

They’re a match, they’re a set. They’re happy, I can tell. They’re what I used to be … They’re what I lost, they’re everything I want to be.

A significant theme I’m already picking up is an important fact for people suffering – heartbreak or other emotions – to keep in mind; that is: things are never as they seem. No one can know what goes on inside. In fact, I have just read something by mental health blogger Megan Rees – whose blog I shall be soon checking out – which makes this precise point:

One person’s experience is completely different to another’s and you can never fully understand what’s going on in a person’s life to have affected them in the way it does.

This is so true.

I shall be continuing with the book. I’m curious to see where it goes. I do hope it gets easier to read though. I want to be completely immune to thoughts of a hurtful past. How long must it be before simple lines of fiction cease to force flashbacks and yank at the heartstrings?

I have lost control over everything, even the places in my head.

The Girl on the Train. Will someone please talk about this book with me?

UPDATE [11/10/16]: “I will never begrudge [her] happiness, I only wish it could be with me.”

UPDATE: [12/10/16]: I can’t read this book at the moment.


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