step back
drawn by hand

A handwritten note, half folded, had been left behind on the platform, discarded or accidentally dropped. No one who walked past could refrain from trying to read it, but no one stooped to pick it up. Everyone remained standing, attempting to decipher whatever could be glimpsed from a height, hoping the wind might blow the note wide open, providing a grand reveal. Commuters waiting nearby for their train drifted casually towards the paper, incapable of ignoring it once they realised it contained something scribbled by hand. No one wanted to appear too eager. One man stood over it, pretending to look at his phone, but actually squinting down at the floor, trying to make sense of the letters. A woman nudged it once then twice with her foot, but went no further than this.

I suspect few people would have shown such interest if it had been typed; if it had looked like a letter from the council, or a utility bill, a leaflet or a flyer or a brochure. There was something about its handwritten quality, it being non-mass produced, which drew people in. Handwritten notes are born of necessity. They aren't part of a process, nor are they one of many. They signal a moment in which one human, however bland their reason, needed to write something down. People on the platform were curious to know what that something was.

I, too, was curious, but didn't want this curiosity to show, to spill beyond its bounds. Not until I wrote about it, later. I told myself I'd rather not know what had been written down. Better to never be sure. I could always imagine it, later.

Ealing Station 131223