Piccadilly Train Station observations

December 7, 2008

At Manchester Piccadilly, there’s an upstairs retail court, with a sports bar, an M&S food shop and various other outlets.

Queuing for food, a woman barged past me – “Can I go in front of you. My train goes in five minutes. I’d do the same.”

I say nothing, the guy stood in front of me in the line says nothing. The woman takes her bag of products up to the kid who is serving at till number 8.

I am served soon enough at till number 9. Walking out of the shop, I see two white men sitting on a bench. I hear a foreign language being spoken, maybe Polish. Something isn’t right about them. One is talking quietly into the other’s ear. The listener suddenly crumples, doubling up. He tries to cover his face with his jacket. I look over the balcony beyond them and see two policemen below, wearing fluorescent jackets and leading Alsatians.

The guy is obviously terrified of something. Maybe the mob have finally caught up to him. Maybe he owes someone money. Maybe he killed someone. Maybe he knew something.
Whatever, pain and panic had arrived upon him, in the shape of the other man, or the information he was calmly delivering.

The next time I passed that way, I looked at the same bench. This time, a girl was sat there, alone, staring into the corporately-owned space in front of her, an empty page of a notebook in front of her.

This is a public space, of sorts. Anyone can sit there for free and play out whatever needs to be played out in their lives. Next time, I might sit there for five minutes, see what I can see.

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