The journey to the office part 2

Posted on 17th September, 2021

The journey


I scanned my Freedom Pass over the scanner on the barriers and the gates opened – phew, I wasn’t sure if it would still work. I started hobbling to the platform. It felt like I had never been away. But, then something stopped me in my tracks. A loud speaker was blaring out from the machine next to the barrier, the place where the guard stood …’the woman in the green and orange dress and with the green rucksack’. That’s me. I panickily stopped, and my first reaction was to check if my dress was tucked in my knickers – don’t laugh, but it’s hard not to isn’t it! I looked at the guard, do I need to do anything I asked? She looked away from me and just turned the speaker down. Anxiety rose, but because the guard ignored me, I started to walk to the platform again. Paranoid and checking my back constantly with my hands – for sure my dress was all okay and there was nothing dropping out of my bag.

I walked down the steps to the platform and held tightly on to the bannister to help guide me down. I kept thinking to myself, I am going to get stopped soon by the guards, so I looked around me, scanning their movements. The train platform was quiet. I had 10 minutes to wait for a train. The waiting room was open and there was one person in there, he was wearing a mask. I made my way in, the door was wedged open, and sat opposite and away from the other human in the room. I got out my bacterial spray and sprayed my hands. The normality of all of this, the masks, the hand spray, made me feel sad. I don’t know why. Maybe that will come to the forefront of my mind one day.


The digital clock on the platform ticked away. I rose stiffly and awkwardly out of the seat, about 5 minutes before my train was due. I made my way to the usual standing point, I used to commute a lot and knew where to stand so that the doors would be in front of me when the train stopped. People were starting to appear on the platform, not magically [laughs] but you know what I mean. Masks were being put on. People were keeping their distance. I didn’t feel anxious. The train arrived and I stepped on to a nearly empty carriage. Out of force of habit, I went right. I sat in a four seater, alone. A lady sat across on the other side of the aisle, mask on, newspaper spread out in the chair in front of her. She was busy into a crossword. Anxiety decreased. And off the train chugged.


What can I say, the train journey was overland, and took an extra 10 minutes because we were delayed approaching a station. And, the journey wasn’t spectacular. People got on and off the train and we passed sites I had viewed many times before, well I tell a lie here, because since my last commute many towers have gone up alongside the trainline, filled with the homes of people. It was nice to see life and have a little nosey into their lives by analysing the objects on their balconies and windowsills.


We arrived at the final destination. Now, here I had a choice to make. It’s a choice that I think many of us are facing each day. We are constantly assessing our risk factor of catching COVID in everything that we do. My consultants want me to rarely use public transport, and now I had the option of getting on to the tube, for 8 minutes, to get to my final destination. So, I was facing a dilemma, remembering concerned voices from my GP and consultants about transport and having shielded for so long, did I risk getting on to a tube for a short space of time? I decided to go and see how the tubes looked, how busy they were. My walk from one platform to another was really hard, for my limbs and for my chest. Goodness me, how unfit and unwell have I become, I grumbled to myself. I got to the tube platform, my train came, it wasn’t busy, there was a place to sit for the short distance and not be next to anyone. I sat. The tube started its journey. I looked around. Lots of people without masks. Anxiety rose. I sprayed my hands. I arrived at my station and with a sigh of a relief I got off. I was exhausted. My body ached and felt heavy, and my lymphoedema legs were stiff. It was now time to get out of the station and do the short walk to the office. What would it be like in the office, we’ll soon know!




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