The pigeons are trusting. They waddle up and down the platform in search of food, begging for scraps from busy people. They stay out of reach, but only just, carefully negotiating a path through the busy feet; ready to take flight at any moment. Their heads bob backwards and forwards with each step, giving them the somewhat comical appearance of dashboard figurines. As soon as one pigeon finds a scrap of food large enough to share, the others swoop in. A squabble ensues, only broken as the next express zooms through the station. The pigeons scatter, the food forgotten by all except one, who emerges victorious.
A small child takes her mother's hand and tugs. Her tiny voice fills the silent station as she asks her mother endless questions. Her mother is tired; her eyes smalls and mouth set in her face. She doesn't smile, and refuses to look anywhere but her daughter, dutifully answering the influx of questions.
"Mummy, why does everyone look so angry?"
Her mother hushes her, and starts a quiet game or I Spy in response to her question, avoiding the eyes of her fellow commuters. The child is happily distracted until a train pulls up in the opposite platform. She screams animatedly ay her mother.
"Mummy! There it is!"
Two elderly women sit on the cold metal bench in the middle of the platform, gossiping loudly. They speak of marriages and births, of divorces and deaths. They laugh and joke, full of life and energy. One tears small pieces of bread off a roll she holds, and tosses them to the ground, ignoring the signs that instruct commuters not to litter or feed the pigeons. The other shares stories loudly, pausing slightly every so often to get a reaction from her friend. It is easy to forget their age as they chat noisily, and they become indistinguishable from their younger counterparts.
A boy talks loudly on his phone, discussing the girls, movies and the football draft. He paces as he talks, seeming unable to stand still for too long. His legs are long and powerful, giving him the appearance of an avid participant in sports involving large groups of people chasing a ball. His arms are toned and muscular, but not in a way that encourages the thought of a body builder – he doesn't look like someone who lifts weights. His face screams honesty, and if he told you he'd woken up one day with his arms and legs well-built, it would be difficult not to believe him. And there is an air about him – about the way he stands, the way he walks; even how he smiles – that makes you wonder what his story is. He's the type of guy you can imagine being popular at school, with a million friends, but there is an air of sincerity to his face.
A girl stands slightly separate from the rest. Even the pigeons dare not to venture that far down the platform. She is a regular at the station, there every morning before school, her uniform always tidy and presentable, despite ever present, subtle hints of make up. Today however, she looks dishevelled. Her hair is un-brushed and her shirt crushed, her shoes untied with her knee socks around her ankles. Her eyes are blank, staring into the distance and they scream of something terribly wrong. She raises her eyes to the sky – a bright blue sky – and watches it for a moment, two moments. Then her head collapses and she closes her eyes, her body hunched over and her limbs held in close. Her mouth opens and her whole face shudders for a moment, before large racking sobs grip her body. She shakes as she leans into the sobs, a hand covering her disbelieving face. Then, the tiniest of sounds escapes her. It is unheard among her fellow commuters as the pigeons begin to fight again. Why Chris? She asks. Why?