The Last Train Home

It all starts off well enough, a drink after work in the pub with some mates. You’ve got dinner planned and a few emails to send on the way home but it won’t matter if you are an hour later than expected. The lacing on your glass lengthens like the coyly revealed top of a stocking, you, the lusty chap about town want to see more. You drain the heeltap of your second pint and someone jumps up out of their seat ‘another?’ You um and ah half a second, ‘go on’ they urge. You cave in to the pressure, secretly pleased you’ll get to see some more of that lacing, and why not? It has been a tough week anyway.

Two thirds of the way through the third beer you realise that food would probably be a good idea, lunch didn’t happen as you were busy and those two bits of toast at breakfast time seem like they were in the Silurian epoch. Third glass drained, you stand to go for a pee before you head to the tube, on your return there is another fresh pint on the table . Oh shit. All hopes of being home for dinner are gone. You make for your phone to put in a sheepish call home to your other half, heart sinking as you slide it out of your pocket. Flat battery.

Fourth pint gone and it is pretty clear you aren’t making the last fast train home. This means a change with a 40 minute wait. The one hour ten journey home has suddenly become a two and a half hour marathon, the only logical thing to do is have another beer.

This is the tipping point. You can get your shit together and be home for midnight if you leave now and have a fairly decent journey home. Heck you might even be sober enough to read a bit of your book that is in your work bag. If you stay for another beer, you are in last train home territory. You stay for another.

Next beer finished you grab your gear and strike out of the pub. You’ve forgotten to say goodbye to half the people there but you really have to go now. You march down the road towards the tube, satchel hammering against your leg as you stride it out. Tapping your Oyster in, there is the characteristic whine and thunder and whoosh of displaced air from down below, there is a train near the platform. You hare down the escalator with little or no regard for your safety. Arriving in a tousled sweaty heap at the bottom, the train is on the eastbound side, you need to head West. Cock. A nervous glance at your watch, twenty five minutes. You calculate it. It has to be fifteen minutes from here and a ten minute walk the other end. It will be a tight one, but you might do it, the beer compass is steering.

You trundle to the station on the tube with every stop feeling like an eternity. You cross your fingers and pray that the driver doesn’t stop mid tunnel somewhere, deep in the bowels of London to announce you are being held at a red signal. Luckily he doesn’t. The doors open and you bolt for it. Leaping up the escalator, two steps at a time, tap, out, leg it down the corridor, up the next escalator and onto the platform.

On the train with two minutes to go.

You look up to survey the carnage around you in the carriage. Behold, this is the vomit comet. Hundreds of people like you in various stages of intoxication and undress. Guys who have been in suits all day, ties loosed to a hangman’s noose, girls in office wear carrying heels wearing their gym trainers, the food, oh the food. People jamming fistfuls of soggy chips from grease pocked paper bags into their mealy mouths, hoping in vain for sobriety. Fast food burger cartons, chicken bones, cans of lager, the effluvia of the drunk gather in the seats and aisles. Your head nods, too drunk to sleep, too drunk to be awake. The movement of the train is horrible, queasy and dizzy and oh dear God, you’d spend every single penny you’ve spent twice over tonight for a pill to make you sober again.

Eventually, after spinning out, your head gently banging at the pillar between the windows on the train you are home. A sigh of relief, nearly there. The fifteen minute walk home goes by, one foot in front of the other. You are almost totally sober now, your head splitting with a full on bastard behind the eyes. You fumble the key into the door, down two pints of water, undress in the dark and slide quietly into bed.

This blog was brought to you by the letters D for Drunk, R for Regret and T for Tired.


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