Monday, March 05, 2012

Sans Sheriff

This is how the world appeared to me this morning as I moved through the city before dawn, coat flapping about me like a cape.

Unlike some graceful heroine, however, I was burdened by backpack and bag. I'd slept for about 4 hours. And my nose was running because of the cold wind.

I moved across the street, looking both directions because it's habit to face opposite the direction of London traffic as we Americans travel on the other side of the road. And everything looked garish and tilted and a little scary as my brain struggled to awaken and make sense of another day of travel.

Once I printed my ticket, dutifully offering my pre-ordered code - and found the right set of tracks, I shivered once again. Setting off for the nearest coffee shop, I ordered a large (on which I burnt my tongue) and picked up some shortbread. As I nibbled and sipped, I availed myself of the free signal and answered some emails that had been beyond my capability the night before.

I enjoy the trains - the smooth journey interrupted by the occasional wiggle or pause to change passengers, the ability to read or stand or stare out windows as the landscape zips by pleasantly.

A little keyed up from the excess of coffee, I sipped some water and watched the world go by as we headed north.

The sun was up and shining merrily along the way and I alighted, taking care - as signs directed - to watch my step from the train to the platform. Finding another coffee shop while I waited for my host, I switched it up with a cappuccino and a brownie. And soon felt sick from the caffeine and sugar.

We talked and worked and talked some more. And when finished, we found the car and headed southwest, chasing the setting sun.

"Where are the sheep?" I asked as we followed the motorway. "I like sheep."

"I'm sure they're around," he replied, shifting smoothly and increasing speed as we both grew increasingly tired.

"Sheep are fluffy," I offered, my words slurred and eyelids heavy.

"Like a nice pillow," I continued when he didn't answer after a moment.

"You've never met a sheep, have you, love?" he asked, glancing over at me with a smile.

"Not so much," I grinned back, keeping an eye out for the fluffy creatures as night fell and we arrived to sleep and dream and work another day tomorrow.

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