It was a cursory glance; the kind of sweeping, superficial look designed to absorb as much as possible in one movement, as if the most critical thing was to use one’s eyes efficiently. He established the approximate size and scale of the room, its tone, an overall sense of feeling. The walls were part-panelled and painted a shade of brown that had been abandoned with a lost generation. Above the panelling, they were an uninspiring cream punctuated with blocks of colour gifted from a number of large poster-sized displays. In the far wall, a painted wooden door of the same cream colour with no indication as to where it might lead; in front of him a tall free-standing wire rack – the kind that rotated with an uneven squeak – adorned with small postcard-sized leaflets.
The warmth surprised him. Outside the bitterness of the wind had whipped through his coat, and even the extra layer he’d debated needing had proven to be not entirely adequate. He missed the source of the heat in his initial sweep, not that he looked for it. Automatically his hand pulled the woollen beanie from his head, loosed his scarf, and eased the zip on his fleece down a little, freeing his neck.
“Are you waiting for a train?”
These are the opening paragraphs from “The Waiting Room”, the first story in my collection of short stories, “Degrees of Separation”.
I re-read them earlier today and was pleased with them. Something about absence and the heart, probably…
If you’d like to read more: