The arrival: Amarantha

Deleted scenes from the cutting room floor: an extract from Sisterwives

All the long way from Aroer on a train.  The man beside me kept falling asleep, his head nodding towards my shoulder and I was trapped between him and the  window.  The intimacy of it, this stranger being so close.  I tried to concentrate on the world rushing by out of the window, the emptiness of the landscape move through my vision – fields and fields like in Marah – but flat, otherwise.  I missed the mountains.

In time we began to pass long, low buildings in clusters of brick and glass.  Signs that seemed written as though in a different language – bright and garish, advertising names, businesses.  Selling things.  At the edge of Lot, the grey grime of railway sidings and bridges with its distinctive art – writing in colour and patterns painted onto concrete.  Rebellious yet soulful.

The shudder of the train as it stops, spills us all out onto the platform.  I follow everyone else, making my way through the throng of people at the station.  Even late it’s busy here, everyone with their own intention, no one looking or seeing each other or even being aware and the consequence is that we catch each other as we weave through the space, jolting bags and parts of our bodies – arms, elbows.

Outside.  Night.  The temperature, hot and humid, and the noise.  Save for the stars in the open sky of Marah, I’ve never seen so many lights.  Later, I find out that this is Lot’s main square, the pulsing angry heart of the city.  For now, I need to find my direction.   I cross to the board at the top of the steps.  Start the journey of my finger by a red arrow, and trace lines outwards, twisting left and right, looking for the name of the right street.


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