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The Red Shirt - Short Commuting Story

Updated on November 9, 2011

She really liked these morning walks to the station. Someone could say it was enormous waste of time as it was taking her more than three quarters, almost doubling the amount of time needed for her to get to work but she thought differently.

It was a great physical exercise in her sedentary life and the only one she did regularly. But most importantly it was a great relax for her brain.

Her work required a lot of thinking and solving problems so she needed her brain to be rested and ready for action when she was entering the office. This walk allowed her to let go of annoying thoughts and replace them with day dreaming. She didn’t know a better way to relax her mind than that.

a patch of colur in the greyish world
a patch of colur in the greyish world | Source

It was the best part of her commuting, the rest of consisted of several trains including underground. She tried to avoid peak hours but London and Canary Wharf especially were always busy. Hundreds and hundreds of identical people were going up and down the escalators.

Every time she entered London tube she felt like losing her identity. She had to abandon her personal physical zone as there was no space for such a luxury. She was not allowed to watch people as it was considered rude but whenever she looked, there was always someone else’s face. The only solution was to look inside or become totally mindless.

The crowd had also its rules - you had to follow them as going upstream was almost impossible. Enter the tube, stay in the centre for a longer journey so you’ll be able to breath, closer to the door if you leave at the next stop. Your stop, the wave leaves the train, walk the platform, don’t think – know where you are going next. Quick glance at the signs above, Jubilee line on the left, turn, go on the escalator, stay on the right or walk on the left. Keep moving. Next platform, stay in line for Jubilee, train approaches. Enter, wait, one stop, two stops, Canary Wharf. Leave, go to the escalator, go up and up again, use the shops entrance on the right or left and there is the office somewhere…

She hated that part. She felt like a person imprisoned in a robot body on a planet where all the humanity was gone. People around her had the same haunted look in their eyes. She could tell they couldn’t really see her, they only noticed the obstacles on their way.

But the suits were the worst. Black and grey, black and grey, a navy one sometimes still dark though. Boring. Boring and a lifeless world. Because of those suits she could barely recognize men from women, they all looked the same. Business and professional someone might say but for her it was a crowd of uniformed robots. Same haircuts, same watches, same laptop bags in every hand - she was sick of this view.

She used to wear similar suit but after few months of commuting and noticing that she feels more and more entrapped, she needed a space. She needed a freedom, a gasp of fresh air so she bought a bunch of red shirts and started to wear them to work. She had no jacket, as it wasn’t necessary on her position, so the colour was clearly visible to everyone.

Have they noticed? She doubted but it set her free. She felt like a colourful flower on the old photograph, like she was the only one with a beating heart. She could be herself in this inhuman crowd of suits and money oriented world. She could stay sane.


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    • Ania L profile image

      Ania L 6 years ago from United Kingdom

      Thank you very muchb for reading @Hyphenbird.

      I was always a nonconformist person so she is close to my heart as well :)

    • Hyphenbird profile image

      Brenda Barnes 6 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

      I love that she refuses to become a grey clone. This gives hope in a world where people live by rules instituted by a vague person whom will never be met. This girl has won my heart. Thanks for creating her.

    • Ania L profile image

      Ania L 6 years ago from United Kingdom

      I'm glad you like it K9 :)

      Talking about colours.. in the place I currently work, we cultivate something we call Purple Wednesday, when we wear something purple as you may guess. It's funny to see everyone trying to find something that would at least be close to purple :)

    • K9keystrokes profile image

      India Arnold 6 years ago from Northern, California

      What a fun thought process. I love that those red shirts brightly popping out above the sea of black and blue set her heart free. A fun little ride, thanks for sharing!