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The exquisite sense of déjà vu
There is a palpable sense of having been here before - almost a déjà vu for a place rather than for a feeling of what will come. He has been here - even though he knows he has never been in this city before. He wonders whether this might be because he has seen a picture, on Flickr or Instagram, or in an old-fashioned book. But he knows it here. He knows where to go, and he knows where not to go because he knows where the wrong places will lead him. He thinks he understands - to a degree - this was a place he visited in a dream. A dream that recurs. He often finds himself in the epicentre of some transport hub in dreams - he thinks this might be a metaphor for running away - but he’s not sure.
The place is grand. It feels from a different age, a different century (and not the last one) there are tiles everywhere of all shapes and sizes. The skill in covering such a strange shape is obvious. Everything is perfect. He thinks about how this was all, more likely than not, done by hand, by people with skills now lost. Those colours are out of this world - probably literally, minerals and compounds dug from the ground and mixed by heat and fire.
There is a set of stairs heading down to a platform. The rails, on either side of the wide steps, are brass and shine with the touch of a billion human hands worth of wear over two centuries - if you could somehow form a connection to this what stories would there be to tell? As he descends, he comes to a long platform with wooden seats and more tiles. He is surprised by the ornate decoration of the place - the light fittings, the metal that holds the posters in place behind glass. The analogue clock, which ticks a mechanical regular beat and tells him he has plenty of time. He can relax. He doesn’t know when the next train will arrive - there are no indicator boards which provide up to second information - although a painted effort does tell him what the destination will be.
The strangest thing. He cannot place which city he is in, nor the language that anything textual is written, which seems odd. He can’t recall how he got here. Perhaps he is in a dream, like one of those lazy stories or films or series where they build such a convoluted and contradictory story that the only way to resolve anything is to say that it was all in the protagonists’ head. And then he recalls the airport and the coach - even though he still - ridiculously - cannot remember why he is here or what country he is in.
Some people shuffle along the platform. They are all elderly and frail, unable to find the strength to pick up their feet, they slide and scuff their shoes along the ground. A woman, in her nineties, surely, looks him in the eyes and smiles - her bright red lipsticks seeming near pornographic on her face - so much so that he averts his eyes. He quickly looks again and to his amazement, through the wrinkles, bags, sags and blemishes he sees the young beautiful woman she must once have been, and he understands her desire to keep hold of some part of this. He decides to return the smile.
Regent’s Park Station, London, 2019. Nikon d750
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