The train rattles by just outside the window. The vibrations going right through my body, the hair on my arms standing on end. What idiot though it would be a good idea to build this place next to the train tracks? Every sound is irritating, even the children playing outside, and they’re not even that noisy. This is supposed to be my hideaway, the place where nobody can annoy me. Today it’s not even that. I’m waiting though, waiting for the postman to bring me my lifeline. Maybe that’s why I am so irritable. Yeah that’s why, just need to calm down a little but, he’ll be here soon.
I haven’t eaten for a day or two either. I sometimes forget I haven’t eaten, it’s become a habit. I want to say I’m destitute but you can’t really say these days can you? People just laugh and say you’ve no money and it’s your own fault. It is in a way, I spent all my money the other day when I went to the pub. Am I not allowed a night out though? I’ve been looking for work for months and months, does that mean I can’t have any fun? It’s no wonder there’s so much bitterness and resentment round here. Everyone’s skint and waiting for someone else to do something that makes them feel better about themselves.
That’s my resentment coming through now. That’s a bad sign. I usually just get on with it all. The last few weeks though I haven’t been coping so well. Isolated myself in my little flat. I don’t want to see anyone anymore. I tell myself it’s because they annoy me, deep down I know it’s because I am embarrassed. I’ve let myself go. I’ve let my beard grow, I’ve not been washing my clothes. At least it gives them something to talk about, hey? When I was doing well for myself they didn’t want to know, now things aren’t so good they’re lining up to have a pop.
Funny thing is, they’ve been doing this their whole lives. Sitting in on a Monday morning waiting for the postman and his little brown envelope. The brown envelope containing all the money you have for the next two weeks. For me it’s only been a year. I should be grateful, but I don’t feel grateful. I hate it, I hate everything about it. Going to the job centre every week to tell the woman that you have been looking for work, that you’re doing everything you can while she looks down her nose at you. I had worked all my life. It’s humiliating. They don’t see that though, to those people in that office your just a scrounger. Someone who can’t be bothered to work.
As if I haven’t lost enough already that I now have to lose my dignity. When I pick up the newspapers and see the front pages complaining about people stealing money from the state. What do these people know? The other people around here, they’re good people too, I know I was angry at them, but that’s just me, I get like that sometimes. None of them would do it if they didn’t have to. They’ve no choice though, they live by that brown envelope that drops on the floor on Monday mornings. If it doesn’t come that’s it, you’ve no money until it’s all sorted out.
I’m ranting now. I never used to do that. I used to be happy. Another train rattling by. They’re endless. I wish for one day they’d just stop the line, no trains, just for one day. The postman should have come by now. As soon as I have my money I’ll go and buy a loaf of bread, a packet of bacon and some milk so I can have a proper cup of tea. See, it’s those simple things you miss when you’ve got nothing. I’ll go and wait outside the door until he comes, he’ll be along in a minute. I’m not so irritable now, the though of tea and sandwiches has brightened my mood.
I see him coming. Coming from around the curve in the estate. The strange design of the buildings giving it a dystopian feel. I learned that word yesterday. I had nothing better to do than read the dictionary. That word stuck out though. These grey and dreary buildings that were supposed to bring people so much joy look otherworldly. They certainly don’t help when you’re feeling like this anyway. The postman walks past me without so much as a smile. No brown envelope, no smile, nothing. My dreams of a cup of tea broken.
I go inside and grab my jacket, yet another train shaking the windows. Looking out the window at the tracks I wonder to myself if that is my way out. Jump on a train and go far, far away. I don’t have any money though. My stomach is now starting to hurt. I reach down to the back of the sofa to see if any money has fallen down. Nothing. Not even a penny. I look at my television and wonder how much I’d get for it. I stop myself, I always said I’d never sell anything I own. I don’t own enough to be giving it away for a lot less than it’s worth.
I slam the door shut, the lady standing outside next door gives me a funny look. I ignore her, walking quickly back down that curve that the ignorant postman came from. I let out a massive breath or air and look up to the sky as I am walking. Begging there to be someone up there that’ll help me. It starts to rain. I’ll take that as a no then. I can feel tears starting to form in my eyes. How has it ever come to this? I quicken my pace not really sure where I am going, walking faster just makes me feel like I have somewhere to go. Small things, hey?
I turn out of the housing estate, slowing down my pace. Walking quickly not having the desired effect, I know I have nowhere to go to. I stop at the bridge looking back along the outside of the houses and flats. Am I the only one? Or does everyone feel like this? A high speed train flying under the bridge breaks my thoughts. Maybe I was right, the train could be my way out. I don’t really have much choice now do I? I can’t keep living here like this? I climb onto the wall of the bridge. I can hear a slower train approaching, waiting until I think it’s close enough. And then I jump.
Feature image by Oxyman (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or CC BY 2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons