Trams

Aiesha Allison-Bramwell

 

There was a time when we forgot how to care. For an evening, we forgot what the meaning of the stupid word meant and all the implications that are tied to it. We were prisoners on day release, the shackles removed from our feet, running free, trying to get as far as way as possible. What we were running from didn’t matter. There were probably multiple aspects of life that we were trying to hide from, trying to outsmart. Because that was us. Together, we were the smart ones, the ones that knew best and most importantly the ones that didn’t have a clue what they were doing, but why should that stop us?

 

It was the beginning of summer. Autumn, winter and spring had been cruel; torturing us, testing our strength by the weight constantly plummeting down on our shoulders. How. Much. Can. You. Carry. Before. You. Crack? It’s no secret what the real exam was. Summer brought about a new time in our lives- the time where we could give up, the time where we didn’t have to be strong. Time is only temporary. With the new time, brought light and oh god, did we take advantage of the light. It guided us, protected us. Surprise attacks are non-existent when you can see all around. And in our complete arrogance, we believed we could see everything. As well as being able to look danger in the face (and turning around), we were fortune tellers, predicting the security in ourselves and in the people around us. Whatever would happen to us, we would make it out alive, arm in arm, laughing at some joke that didn’t make sense. And in our complete arrogance, we forgot what we had. The incredible lives we were fortunate enough to lead. We forgot the fact that if we did crack, people would always be there to glue us back together. Lost in our selfishness, we found ourselves craving more- the desire for an adventure we were too young to take, one that we wouldn’t understand until it was too late.  I can still recall your voice yelling “come one!” as you made the first move in this brutal game of chess. With the light spilling down from the heavens above us, we jumped. We should have realised how fast darkness was coming.

 

Our laughter filled the carriage as the tram race along the tracks, heading towards an unknown destination. Taking advantage of the fact it was okay that we weren’t in control anymore, we sat back and enjoyed the ride. We hadn’t even bought a ticket. Rebels. Lights blurred as we sped past, not even bothering to take them in. The dark cascaded upon us, but we didn’t flinch, it’d be over soon. We were right, of course. In that instance. I’m now sorry for underestimating the night. The journey was long, but not long enough. It seems we were always wishing for time to hurry up. Not appreciating the individual heartbeat of everyday. Not realising that if one fails, then it can impact us for the rest of forever. What happens if multiple heartbeats fail? Does that mean death?

 

The tram hadn’t reached its final destination, but we had grown restless. We landed on the platform and looked up at the pink, purple and blue sky of this foreign land. Running over the ever long fields of green, the music of traffic playing in our ears. I can’t remember how long it took to get there or how much time it took us. I just remember looking down from the bridge and deciding that it was our next stop. Away from the roads and away from the restaurants, we tumbled down uncontrollably until we got there. The track had changed. Sounds of socialising and dining played out as we became mesmerised by the dancing lights and the reflections of our growing grins. Was this proof of where we belonged and who we needed to be? The water flooded below our feat, an unstoppable force. And there we danced like the lights, mirroring the water to our best ability. Dancing down the bricked streets. Twirling. Laughing. Leaping like animals about to make a kill. An act of survival. But that’s all life is- survival of the fittest, something that I don’t understand how is measured and after all, is water really free? Our day release was coming to an abrupt end.

 

By the time our breath was caught, it was nearly nightfall. It was only then that the obvious hit us. The dead end was eventually reached and there was no chance to turn back. The soundtrack of traffic played on, but the tempo had changed. An orange ball stood out behind the black houses and the black sky. The black cabs hurried past us- our only hope. Our oppressive freedom had lead us away from the tram and away from our safety net. With failed debates and lack of decisions, there was we reached the inevitable conclusion. I hailed down the dark beast with its yellow eyes staring us down. For the final time that evening, the soundtrack changed. It morphed into our concerns and our stupidity and our helplessness as the shackles were replaced. Tied to one another we headed back in the direction there was no escape from. There was only real question worth asking: how were we allowed to travel unknowingly into the dark? Surely there must have been a reason as we cannot possibly have a choice in how we run our lives? Not yet anyway? Maybe one day.

 

I arrived home, where had you gone? What had happened between now and when we entered the cab? You were no longer human; you were the cannel we danced around. You were the river heading towards the sea and at the same time, you were the whole, entire ocean slipping through my fingers. During the journey, something had changed. You had tried to drown me or perhaps I had tried to burn you. It goes against the laws of physics to fight water with fire, but I had never cared for science. The final battel was so unexpected, perhaps a part of us knew it was coming. The tension might have been there as we danced and as we laughed, but who really knows? How were our lives bound to change now we were in different prisons? Who would we go to if the weight got too much? I’ve heard it said that sometimes it’s better to share the cargo amongst two boats to stop one from drowning, but I guess you were no longer impacted by this. Stop trying to drag me down with you. My memory is scared by the final taxi ride, but it was the tram that made us lost.

 

It was a silent, dark, winters night before I got home.

 

 

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