“A Night on the Platform” by Liu Yuwei

snowfallPhoto by Oliver Farry.

A girl friend of mine went on a trip to Rehtaeh Mansion years ago. To save on transport, she purchased an 80-percent-off railway ticket online. The train arrived at its destination before one in the morning—that was why the ticket was discounted. She, lingering on the platform, had nowhere to go as she had not booked any accommodation—she thought one night on the platform would not kill her.

The freezing night air of June permeated the platform. She shivered with cold and longed for a hot drink, but all the cafés were closed for the night. She fidgeted on a chair and clutched the shoulder straps of her backpack in a fear that someone may be lurking in the shadow of a pillar on her left. At the rear of the platform, there were steep stairs leading down to a dark passage. Occasionally, people came out from there, and she kept her eyes open to those passing her by. Then, she got up, and walked around and around the platform to stay warm, awake and alert.

She did not stop her walking till the lights came from the cafés and the curtains blew softly in the morning air. The orange dawn sunlight, the smell of the freshly baked cherry pie and the aroma of coffee made the platform warm and pleasant. The shadow and the dark were no more. She collapsed on a chair and lost herself in the flashing lights on the advertisement dangling from the front wall. Just as the glittering sunlight started shining on her and the first train was approaching, she came out of her trance. She rose to leave, vanishing in a flooding crowd.


YuWeiLiu Yuwei is a PhD student at the Department of English Language and Literature and a moderator of Agora. [Click here to read all entries by Yuwei.]

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Lian-Hee Wee says:

    A feeling so familiar, mixed with dread and romanticism at the same time. The rational part of me simply says, “awful experience”. While writing about the girl friend, how was the observer doing?

    1. YW says:

      It was awful. In that night, no one witnessed her presence but herself. Like she had watched herself moving nervously around on the platform in the cold nigh air.

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