Saturday, 2 February 2008

crystal spheres on the underground

The underground train is crowded and dirty. People sitting down, standing up, wedged in corners, tired bodies squashed one against another. As the carriage lurches from side to side, hands clutch straps and muscles strain to keep a sense of balance. Each person carries their crystal sphere; round glass balls which release a light like glow-worms,angels or fairies. The spheres are delicate fragile things, tender as snowdrops with a soul of steel. A young man in a pin stripped suit nervously tosses his globe from palm to palm, his sweat leaving sticky imprints on the surface. The young woman in the corner has attached her sphere to a cord and it dangles from her hand, wound with string, spinning down and reeling up as she flicks her wrist. Next to her the smart old lady has crammed the sphere into her red leather bag and she glances at the neighbours' with envy. There are broken spheres, chipped and cracked, old spheres and new, there are tiny one's slipped into pockets and huge globes attached to  backs, some  have been repaired though the pieces are jammed leaving sharp edges. They are cherished, ignored, desired, hated, misunderstood, devine and lowly.  As the carriage jolts a man drops his sphere and it breaks. His face turns white, he stumbles and looks ready to fall, but no-one in the carriage offers help and some seconds later he picks up the two pieces, tears blinding his eyes, and places them in a carrier bag. The train speeds on, gently shaking it's passengers through the darkness of the tunnel. 

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