Transit

It was all too much and I started to cry. Sitting on the floor of that train carriage, my head in my hands, weeping. It was that series of unkindness’s. Or what felt to me like unkindness. To them, the perpetrators, it was probably just a show of irritation. And it was the delays, the heat, the cramped carriages and the fear of never getting home that did it for me. And on top of the same chaos two days before. I don’t seem to be able to keep the flow back. And I didn’t care. It felt better to just let it out. She’d been pointed, spiky. She’d picked on me. And the others, the Virgin staff at Birmingham had been rude. Was it my fault? Had I given off negativity? Had I seemed unreasonable? Can someone help me? I’d asked. He’d barely turned his head. We’ve all had a long day, he’d said, dismissing me. The woman on the train had been equally unsympathetic. A young woman, blond with catches in her tights. We’d all like to sit down, she’d said. And I hadn’t taken a seat just lowered myself onto the ground. Later, the kind man with the red beard who’d put my case on the overhead shelf, had turned to me and smiled. Ignore her, he’d said. And then when he left he’d touched my arm. You al ‘right?

And I’d had such a lovely day the day before full of sunshine and peace. And he came. He drove all that way to rescue me from the train that was going nowhere. Someone on the bridge threatening suicide. What can you do? Wait? Then the duck in the carriageway. Almost laughable. Move little one, move. And then the final straw. A diversion. That’s going to add another 30 miles, he said. Don’t take it out on him, I said. It isn’t his fault. It never is anyone’s fault. Just systems. They treat us like cattle, I said to the man without a coat waiting to press into the train along with hundreds of others. And the woman who objected to the smell of my hand cream or was it my mouthwash? It took me aback, I thought she’d turned to me to pass the time of day. And then there was the blind woman. How else was she to get to the toilet? And she couldn’t find the flush button or the out button. And there was a tiny poo in the bowl. She smiled the whole journey, lost in her happy darkness, trusting. So trusting. Humming, singing under her breath and laughing after every sentence. A holiday to Cornwall. Her holiday. And why not?