I'm sitting in a tube station lined with red cream tile. The scene flickers back and forth, from vivid technicolor to grainy black and white, as if shot through the gritty lens of an arthouse film. It's oppressively silent, the stale underground air tensing for the arrival of a train. I'm completely alone, folded into a glazed plastic chair. Suddenly, across the tracks is seated a man in a tangerine suit, stiff-backed and expectant. He seems to have been waiting there for hours, yet a moment ago, I was solitary. The tangerine man begins screaming and gesticulating wildly, his face contorting grotesquely as spittle flies like bullets from his mouth. “You are worthless,” he shrieks, his sunken eyes smoldering like burnt marches in their sockets. I turn to answer, but see that he is speaking, not to me, but to the empty red seat beside him. “You are nothing,” he screams to the plastic chair. “You are nothing, nothing!”
The screech of the incoming train drowns out his hysteria. The train pulls into the station and I step on. The inside is an empty tube, painted blindingly white, and as I stand in the center of the carriage, sluggish, plaintive strains of music begin to play from tinny speakers. For a moment, amidst the rattle of the train, the eerie tune and the glaring white walls of the car, time seems to draw to a halt, and my breath crumples like paper in my throat.
The train grinds to a stop, and a deadpan female voice announces: "Move away from the doors." As I step out, the train and its tracks evaporate, and I am left standing in solitude, ankle-deep in a shallow lake, which extends unbroken to the darkening skyline. The lake is calm, like a silken robe embroidered with the silver light of the overhead moon. In the far distance, beyond the haze of the horizon, stands a murky silhouette, contours fuzzy, reality bleeding into mirrored reflection.
I know, at a glance, it is you.