Castaway

There it was. The low, soft, white noise that greeted Adrian every morning as he opened his eyes. Wednesday today. A work day. Time to get out of bed then. Adrian showered, unsure if the water was hot or cold, he stood with a cascade running down his face. Soap filled his eyes but there was no stinging.

Breakfast was coffee and toast. Two weeks ago Adrian had started adding sugar to his morning drink to give him an extra morning buzz. Now he was up to four sugars and there was still no reaction. He finished the drink and dressed quickly but smartly, his shirt tucked in neatly, his tie square and firm. The clock by the bed said 8:15. He was exactly on time.

8:27 Adrian was at the train station. The train was, as always, two minutes late. The platform was full of people, most stood near the edge and either fiddled with their jacket pockets or constantly checked their watches. Were they nervous? Excited? Bored? Adrian couldn’t tell. To him they were shop window mannequins.

Eventually the train lumbered into the station and everyone boarded slowly and politely. Adrian chose a seat near the doors and sat down. Despite being crowded nobody chose the seat the next to him.

Looking around the carriage Adrian tried to assemble a mental image of the people trapped behind the, to him, emotionless faces. Did the two people stood by the doors know each other or was their conversation a way of passing the journey? Was that child stood looking at her shoes the daughter of the blonde haired lady? Was there a family resemblance or not? Did the girl two tables down work in Adrian’s office or was she merely a reminder of someone he used to know?

Adrian couldn’t answer these questions. Other people had stopped registering in his conscience some time ago. How long? He didn’t know. He worked alone in a corner of an office. He lunched in the park, by himself, sitting on a bench. He went home to an empty house. There was nobody to express his emotions to, so he’d stopped having them.

The white noise Adrian awoke with every morning returned, distracting his thoughts. It was difficult to focus on anything other than the sound inside his head so he didn’t try. It filled his ears and blocked out the noise and conversations around him. Slowly his eyes defocused to blur the others in the carriage. Slowly but surely the world was detaching itself from Adrian.

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