Song from the signal box


Song from the signal box

From up here, he sees everything. The parallel tracks of lives lived and unlived. The ones who left, the ones who stayed, the people passing through. Monday morning commuters with a shine on their shoes, lovers meeting just far enough out of the city, someone’s Nan in a cherry red hat.

The Tyne, treacherous here, swirls fast and shallow around the bridge’s stone piers, dark glossy peat brown patches edged with pale gold foam, like watery agate. A bouquet of yellow flowers tied to the railings.

Shutting the door marked ‘Private’, he sails down the stairs to the station bar. Orders a pint of cider and some cockles. Outside, snowdrops bloom on the bank where cottages used to stand 50 years ago. Coals speed westwards away from Newcastle.

The barriers rise and fall to their own internal music.

Fiona Thompson

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