by George Pringle
Excerpt From “Steel & Industry”.
On the large bow window in the Girls’ College, high up over Avenue Road there are names scratched into the glass from former inmates.
Brenda Whitby, Vera, Edith C…
At Boarding School, I learnt very much to be a dreamer. That’s all there was to do there. Those windows looked out on the station where trains could take you away.
They could take you all the way to London.
Winter nights, I lay in bed listening to station announcements. The words would rattle around in the glass sky. It was so clear in the country. You could really see the stars at night.
Sometimes, like a lost dog, I would sit on a bench in the station, smoking…watching trains coming and going. Watching the electric doors closing and opening….knowing I was on the precipice of freedom.
The last train to London left around 10. This ritualistic rocket launch always stirred a sadness in me. A longing for London.
And when that last train left, you were really alone. You had lost your chance for that day.
In my room, I learnt to be a dreamer.
I became a person capable of tremendous fantasy.
And I suppose that fantasy is something that makes me who I am.
But at times all that dreaming has a loneliness to it. And it brings me back to school. The Winter evenings. The trains.
The sad names, etched in the glass.
Brenda Whitby, Vera,