I have a new route to work now. On an overground train that passes parks and houses and a school, that passes other trains. On which I stand closely to strangers for about eight minutes, never more than 10. Sometimes our hands touch as the train lurches and one of us reaches for something to hold on to. Other times I accidentally make eye contact with the done-up blonde or the two men in suits, at least one of whom must feel choked by his tie, the other choked by expectation, regret, any of life’s other nooses.
Often I imagine what it feels like to be the wives of the men wearing wedding rings, to be the children of the mothers who can talk about nothing but them, to be the done-up blonde with everything so perfect and smooth and I wonder how many people ever get to be the version of themselves they wished they could become.