I feel like I should feel like this is a bigger deal than like how I feel… like.
Y’know? … No?
I gather my stuff. Should I wear the jacket or not? I choose not, ball it up and slink it over my arm. I check to see if I’ve left anything and that my seatback is its full; upright; position before zipping up the bag and, being careful not to hit anyone, throwing it over my shoulder.
Check your pockets; wallet, phone, keys, passport.
* * * *
I straighten myself, lifting up on the balls of my feet, reaching as high as my fingers will let, willing inches but receiving millimeters; a short sharp electrical burst stringing up my back telling me I’m up as high as I can go; pushing myself to my physical limit.
The top shelf tin, sparkling golden biscuit brown from my low angled vantage, and adorned with the swoosh of the Jacobs brand (albeit worn from a couple of years of second hand use) teeters on the edge. I wiggle my fingers, migrating the tin off the top shelf in minutia. I attack the task with every ounce of strength in me.
I long to be older, taller, wiser, with the ability to get biscuits whenever I want, to choose to eat biscuits whenever I want and possibly even a job of my own where I can afford to buy biscuits.
I am ten years old and I long to be twenty.
* * * *
If this were a movie there’d be an opening montage right about now. Sun, flares, busy city file archive footage of people going in and out of buildings and then some random fucking hipster slurping away on a juice or something. The synth-backed montage music would narrate a story of how success drives you or how you reach for success or how now’s your time to catch the success or how you’re new to town and you’ve got the world on your shoulders. And then there’d be this shot of me on the train, cutting in as another train whoosed by so as to alluminate my face in an on again, off again flurry of hope and aspiration. My big packed suitcase to my side and the narrato-ballad sining that I’d finally arrived in “Luuuundon”
…If this were a movie…
But it all feels fairly normal and run of the mill in real life.
* * * *
– I’m sorry, excuse me?
– Sorry, say that again?
– Ahm… did you just say…Pooh?
– Yes, Pooh.
– Ah yes, that is what you said. Haha, thought I was going crazy there for a second.
I squirm awkwardly on the cold tile floor and glance over my shoulder to see if the train is ready yet; nope. The girl takes another swig from her flask of what she claims is Jameson and Coke and I think to myself how apt an ending to the 2001 Jameson Cork Film Festival this chance encounter is. Conor comes over and sits down.
– Oh hey Conor. This is Pooh.
– I.. you… what?
– Conor, Pooh. Pooh, Conor.
– I apologize, I think I misheard, I thought I heard Shane just say your name was…
– Hi, Pooh, pleased to meet you.
Conor looks at me with the “Did she just say…” eyes
I look back in the affirmative
Conor throws me a “What the fuck!” look.
I return him my “Yeah, well, imagine how I feel” stare.
“Well,” Conors eyes think drastically “Let’s get the fuck out of here, then…”
“Now think about this,” my eyes interject “Where the fuck are we supposed to go?”
My eyes have a point. It’s 7am on a cold Sunday October morning in Cork Central Train Station. It’s miserable outside, there’s nowhere else open, we’ve just dragged the bags all the way from that shithole of a hostel after a night of heavy drinking, a day of some film watching and heavy drinking and another night and day of heavy drinking. Conor checks to see if, miraculously, the train is ready and then reluctantly accepts his fate beside us.
– Jameson and Coke? Pooh offers
I’m far too far immersed into this surreal tale to worry too much about drinking from the same bottle as a girl named Pooh. I just take it and swiftly down a mouthful of the mildly warmed concoction. Conor, just as settled now to his fate, follows in my suit.
– So, Pooh, I ask – Tell me about yourself. You must have had a miserable fucking middle school experience…
I am 20 years old, completing my first film festival experience, feeling for the first time in my life like maybe I have a possible future in this “making movies” business, sitting beside a filmmaker who’s just had two short films screened in a major Irish film festival… and a girl named Pooh.
* * * * *
An early morning jet cuts a gashlike incision into the cool January sky as it sets out on it’s journey and I catch myself grinning for the first time since I’ve arrived in London.For a split second a rippling prickle of excitement streams up my back and away into the ethos.
Perhaps; in ten years time; if I look back at moving to London, at moving away (I mean, really away. I mean further away than a couple of kilometers for longer than a couple of weeks) from home for the first time, I’ll play it out like some great moment, some aspirational life changing turning point. Perhaps. But right now a little grin and a rippling prickle is about as much as I’m going to give myself. I am 30 years old and…