kindness of strangers

strapped down

strapped down
Written by Cathoel Jorss,

On the above-ground train we are travelling through the treetops. Everybody’s head is framed in green. My companion takes a photo, covertly: the flash makes everyone look up. Now I realize that the acetate smell I had noticed is from an open pot of scarlet polish which the groomed boyfriend to my right holds open, absently, for his girlfriend to paint her nails as he browses facebook on his phone. “It just looks so sweet,” my friend tells them. Everybody begins to laugh. The older lady to his left turns to her neighbour and asks her something. Four men with opened beers are standing at the free end of the carriage talking, as though they were in a treetop bar. In the opposite corner a flicker of movement catches my eye. The very very handsome man in his twenties who had taken up his black notebook as we all piled in and sat down is sketching the dog whose head rests on my knee; his eyes flare back and forth, back and forth, gathering information and strapping it down.

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