Yellow Mondays

The bright yellow tram clipped flashy and fresh and smooth on the turns. Inside was lonely but for a faceless driver with his back to little more than a handful of early travellers sprawled about the interior. Daybreak sun spilled through the sparse carriage, flickering like an old movie reel as we coarsed through the waking city. Joggers in small shorts were left for dust in the mirrors as Monday-gazing suits traversed high-panted in common routes, nonchalantly commencing a crisp week of routine existence.

The faceless driver halted his route at the foot of the Carlton Gardens where the rays of the sun shot and reflected off the majestic mandala windows of the Exhibition Buildings. By the iron barricade stood a man in navy, gaunt and tired, chatting away to a young, unhinged girl. The man’s ringed eyes twittered, the girl’s were equally glazed and both heads stiffed and twitched as they spoke like the cautious movements of paranoid possums at Treasury Gardens in the night. Conversation filtered into the carriage with the opened tram doors. It was an empty exchange; loose, lost and compensated for by cadences of cool bluntness. The man and the girl sounded as they looked, helplessly incarcerated inside their own private universes. Prematurely the tram door shut and her feminine arm grasped desperately for access. The faceless driver palmed his button and let the young girl on. Marks on her face glared in the warm luster of the morning.
They were dark blemishes, brown and scabby, scattered about her forehead and her cheeks.

As the tram stationed the girl remained preoccupied and distracted deep inside her universe. There was room for nobody and nothing else. Her fingernails matched the lemon yellow of the tram, her hair, dusty brunette hung long and wavy. Lucidly she graced the aisle brandishing a one-strap sports bag shaped like an old water bladder with a single zip that contoured the hem line. The girl’s lemon nails clawed and pierced into the fabric like everything she knew and loved in the world might be found within it. She cowered on knees, planting herself on a seat behind me as the man in navy stared emptily outside, chewing into the ether. The faceless driver took off and the man and the girl were forgotten to each others’ world - no thought for their prior colloquy, nor for a parting wave.

The yellow tram cut along the metal tracks as the girl thumbed and fumbled her little black bag, opening, then shutting, opening again, a few times over and then some more. Restless. The speed of life was too slow. She had to go faster that this. Sitting was draconian in her present state - she stood again and re-occupied the aisle, roaming back and forth the steps toward the door she came in. Her two arms clung to the dangling yellow nooses holding up an abused, struggling body, languished and limber and manic. She muttered to herself, as emptily as if ‘old navy’ was still beside her back at the stop. She swayed and edged, frustrated, bursting at the seems to explode from out of this moving limitation into wherever it was her mind told her she needed to be.

A stale automaton voiceover declared the tram’s approach to Murchison St.

The girl repeated the name of the street over and over in subtone mumble as she swayed from noose to noose. The robotic voiceover had tempted her, verging her body ever closer to the exit, offering only her back to all except the driver, whose back was all anyone ever got to see.

The faceless driver halted the tram and opened the doors at the first stop past Elgin.
Like a rocket, the girl with yellow nails sprung headfirst into the mild morning, surging like a mindless child, a pre-loved toy doll in its early stages of malfunction.

A 16-foot truck appeared out of nowhere in peripheral vision as the electronic tram doors opened. My body paralysed itself in chill. Each lung seized, rendered unable to harness any breath.
The truck sped.
The brunette hair of the blemished girl feathered in the morning breeze, her yellow fingernails, out of view.

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