Fuente de la Mora
By Parson Thru
They say the weather’s going to improve.
They’ve been saying it for weeks.
We need the water, true enough
but the reservoirs are surely brimming now?
Five more days
Jesús, in the café, told me.
And then 40 degrees? I asked
He flashed a grin.
Ghennadii, the concert violinist,
is drinking his coffee in Nuevos Ministerios
and chewing a bocadillo.
Long time Ghennadii, I say, patting his shoulder.
He shifts the bocadillo to his coffee hand
and holds out the free one.
His violin rests on its open case.
I’ve changed my route, I tell him.
He nods and asks how I’ve been.
Busy, I say. Trabajando mucho.
He tells me he’s in good spirits:
I tell him that makes me happy.
“Estamos muy contentos” we joke
and shake hands.
The travelator isn’t working.
I make the usual adjustment stepping on
and lose my balance a little.
The wheels on my case buzz.
It feels heavier without the extra push.
I pass through the barrier,
find the platform: Cercanias Vía 3
and sit on an empty bench.
They’re all empty: I’ve just missed a train.
Bench > Banco > Bank – the etymology of credit.
Cercanias times are potluck.
There are frequent cancellations and delays,
but it’s a change from the Metro.
And plenty of time for watching.
It’s just after midday.
A girl in a microskirt
and high, blocky white shoes
is twirling, as if rehearsing a dance.
She stands in front of the notices,
peering at the timetable – an astrologer.
Time hangs – I look at my phone.
Here comes the train:
long, square and battered white.
It squeals to a stop and the doors open.
At the first stop a young man in a hoodie
makes his way down the carriage.
He’s asking something.
People are standing up.
I get it the second or third time.
“Where are you going?”
“Fuente de la Mora.” I tell him.
It seems the train is finishing here.
“El siguiente.” he says. Next one.
Everyone’s climbing down to the platform.
The boy goes into the cab
and the train heads back the way it came.
At least the rain has stopped.
The girl in the microskirt
is standing in front of the destination board.
No platform shown.
We’re all on number 9.
An announcement in Spanish,
repeated in American:
“Airport T4, Platform 11.”
I look at the destination board:
This reminds me of cold mornings
at Clapham Junction.
Through the door,
up the escalator,
into the concourse,
down the escalator,
The train is arriving.
The girl in the microskirt has made it.
We all board.
Sliding under the A1 motorway,
I check my phone for messages:
four from Zanzibar and an email from the school.
A small dark-skinned boy comes down the carriage.
He leaves a printed note and pack of tissues
on every seat or knee.
There’s one on the seat beside me.
I see the word “ayudar” – “help”
He walks from one end to the other
without saying a word.
Nobody moves. They don’t even look up.
He takes the notes and tissues back.
I’m always surprised how many give on the Metro.
It’s different on here. Many have cases,
flights to catch: out-of-towners, maybe.
I dig out 40 centimos.
“Cuarenta?” I ask, holding them out.
He nods and I give him the 40,
slipping the tissues into my pocket.
God knows, I need them with this weather.
Fuente de la Mora.