There's just something about the city.
Even if it's not the city at all, really – even if it's only an outskirt, a remote place, just a name on the subway plan, a tiny train station which is the only tenuous connection with the "outside world."
The whole place is gray – the ground, the dinged-up benches, the stone pillars, the phone booth, the grimy vending machine with the broken coin slot and the strange bars on the inside, in front of the food.
The smell of cigarette smoke hangs heavy on the air, and butts litter the ground – some fresh, almost crisp, and others old, ground in between the cobblestones by the many pairs of feet which have made their way here.
The train is late – in fact, the three o'clock train might just not come altogether, and everyone waiting here will have to sit an extra half-hour in the cold. Snatches of conversation drift through the air, fainter than the smell of smoke – people flip open their cell phones, explain to whoever they might be meeting that they'll be late. Some are quieter, matter-of-fact, some curse into the phones, some simply sound desperate.
It's easy to wonder where all these people are going – how many have meetings to which they are now late, how many are unable to call and explain, the possible repercussions of this one train not coming in at three o'clock –
And then, how many of them are here for no other purpose than that they want to be. That they simply want to explore, or do some shopping, or go eat, alone. How many of them are parents, going to see their children, maybe some are off to the airport for an exciting travel to somewhere they've never been, and if they are now going to miss their planes –
Maybe that's what's so interesting about the train station. It's not much, but it's full of so much potential.
The train station is outside, and it's cold – no wind, luckily, but fingers quickly numbed by the biting chill of the air. The metal of the bench is freezing.
It's not worth it to buy something from the vending machine – the snacks are second-rate and overpriced, and the thing itself is surely filthy, but there's just something about it –
The coin falls with a clunk into the machine, rattles slightly – but there can't be too many other coins in there, can there, almost no one comes to this station – and then a soft thud as the package falls from the shelf.
Fingers too numb to feel the vending machine at all, filthy or not. The bag is flimsy, the plastic ripping easily – too easily.
The candy is stiff with cold and almost tasteless, difficult to bite and covered with sweet, crunchy sugar that sticks to the fingers. Licking it off, the difference in temperature between fingers and mouth is noticeable.
There is still no sign of the train, and people are beginning to grow impatient – even more so than usual. There is no news on the sign that's supposed to tell if the train is coming or not. Going home would be easiest, since there's nothing to do really, going home and leaving the exploring for another day.
But there's just something about it –