Cool Summer By Amy Shelver

He stood there, swaying with the motion of the train, eyes darting from the perfect smiles of the Vogue “Cool Summer” campaign models, to the rugged, furrowed western star, the face of Boss coffee. His charcoal grey trousers – now a namesake to his fashion – forsook him in that moment. Pulled over his hips, the parting seams tucked firmly up into his crotch, gave the appearance of a heart over his buttocks.

“Very German for a Japanese man,” I think to myself, remembering how many times I had mimicked my stepfather for this very fashion statement, much to the giggled satisfaction of my siblings.

The train.

Huddled, perpetually, next to strangers. Sometimes even intimately.

The cradle-moving motion swinging you to sleep… just in that moment, subconsciously reaching for another human, you find yourself rocked asleep, perhaps the threat of drool on your parted lips.

I wonder about these strangers here. What lives they live, what homes and jobs they go to, who loves and despises them, what agonies lie behind faces averted to books and newspapers and flashy advertising and porn and blank stares. The glassy eyes I want to see reflecting.

Always a bag too. This is advanced capitalism after all. The LUMINE, the Takashimaya, BEAMS BOY or PARCO, the fake Louis Vuitton’s and the real ones aplenty too.

All squashed into the intimacy of each other’s spaces.

I try not to count the countless times my arse and breast and thighs and even hands have been thrust towards other people’s bodies – as though drawn by the magnetism of human touch.

The reality though, is that people abhor invasion, yet secretly desire it.

How many secrets do these watchful, well-practiced glances, masking meticulous gazes, possess?

I have decided to watch back now.

I am no longer the beacon-headed lighthouse blonde in the sea of black hair. I have joined the ranks of conformity, uniformity – umbrella in hand – I am almost one of them. Enough so that I pass… until a glazed gaze is passed.

And then you and I are locked. You and me.

You the countless eyes and bodies I fumble through to find and define myself in new contexts.

I and You are locked.

I am no longer demure, at the whim of your gaze. I am watching and glazing and gazing back…

I am dissecting and prodding and imagining. I see you baby… and I see you see me. Watch my conjuring.

When I smile back, reach through to you with the electricity of air – force you to engage with me – tell me your stories and your secrets.

We are but dancing partners on here for a short while. Whether you like it or not, you will leave something of yourself with me – as you push past me and the others reaching for the door, thoughts already ahead.

You will still linger here like a one night stand’s perfume.

Trains are a place of culture.

Anyone who wants to experience the true heart of a country should do it through their commuter transport.

There are no pretenses here – many pretentious, but no pretenses amongst strangers – just people on their way… bits and pieces of them in tow: their juicy cannot-put-down book, dinner for tonight, a laptop fervently hacked-at; and cellphones, the new direct medium for a multitude of messages.

Children contorted around a single cellphone watching a friend play a game of… who knows? I am not close enough to see. But the cheers of support, giggles of suppressed symbiotic embarrassment for their mate’s wrong move and moans of disappointment when he shoots but does not score.

Looking around me, I give fleeting thought to the collective power of the electromagnetic waves that pulse from those cellphone wielding hands.

I let it pass. As mine own vibrates on my crossed legs.

People looking down to their flat-screen DoCoMo-darlings, wishing for the intimacy of a thought somewhere else, perhaps even on another train?

Plugged in, that’s what he calls it.

Indeed: iPod lodged firmly in ears. Check. Keitai implanted in hand. Check. Radiohead, In Rainbows – soundtrack to this particular train ride. Check. Handheld PS2 console. Check.

Desire for contact – immeasurable.

Potential for contact – unlimited.

Ability to interact? Hampered by plug-ins.

So we hurtle along – conscious and unconscious. Plugged in, but out of touch. Until your peacefully, open-mouthed and napping neighbour, swoons onto your shoulder as the train lurches to an abrupt stop at Omiya.


'In Transit' artwork by Bianca Capzorio
Artwork: In Transit (2020) | Bianca Capazorio | Digital photographic collage | Artist's collection | Not for sale
'In Transit' artwork by Bianca Capzorio
Artwork: In Transit (2020) | Bianca Capazorio | Digital photographic collage | Artist's collection | Not for sale
'In Transit' artwork by Bianca Capzorio
In Transit (2020) | Bianca Capazorio | Digital photographic collage | Artist's collection | Not for sale
'In Transit' artwork by Bianca Capzorio

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