The sound of the train whistle quickened Melbourne Train Girl's already hurried stride to a run. Not making the train would mean not making it to class on time. And she had already been late twice that week. Reaching the ticket machine, she pressed the familiar sequence of buttons - daily, zone 1 and 2, concession - and inserted her money.
The whirring of the machine was joined by the hissing of the train, the squealing of the brakes, and the releasing of the doors. She waved her fingers in front of the machine impatiently. The same as every morning. It was a habit. Not that it made her ticket appear any faster, but it did make her feel like she was doing something to help it along. Just like the way she pressed the buttons at pedestrian crossings many more than once, twice or even three times.
Just when it seemed like she would once again spend her morning train ride thinking up a plausible late excuse that she hadn't used yet, her ticket appeared and the change rattled out. The train doors closed behind her and she left the platform behind.
Melbourne Train Girl always chooses her seat carefully. She only likes sitting backwards. And she prefers to sit backwards on the left hand side of the carriage.
She also likes to sit near attractive, intriguingly mysterious looking boys.
Today there were none.
There was, however, one man eating a banana (a very expensive banana too, given Australia's current shortage), four high school students planning to wag, three people sleeping (one of them drooling), eight men reading The Age, nine women reading The Age, and one girl reading a very outdated TV Week.
"Maybe tomorrow," thought Melbourne Train Girl as she opened her novel.