Train stories ~ Short fictional stories inspired by real train commuters and I’ve intentionally not given the characters names. If I see you, I just may turn you into a story.
Date: 27th January 2016
She had always been the tallest girl in school, now look at her, a tall woman. Not just any kind of [tall] woman, nope, she was carefree and lived life outside “the boarders”. She was so carefree that eating the few peanuts that journeyed their way to her brown linen scarf in public, was not an issue for her.
One peanut, two peanuts, four, she munched on them with a slight side-eye daring her fellow Bakerloo line commuters to question her or maybe she was looking out for anyone who had seen her. She realised it was the latter when her cheeks blushed slightly, she was embarrassed – rare. Between embarrassment and having a daring attitude she couldn’t help to think if she was on edge because she was going to see him today. It had been a year and half since she last saw him. As she continued to consider what was causing her to be restless she rubbed her hand on her brown linen scarf – peanut number five – yum.
Her healthy looking chestnut-brown hair was tied in an extremely lopsided messy bun, with a few disobedient strands hanging by her ears. Her velvet brown coat could have recounted her history had it been a human being. She loved this coat. Apparently the coat was never warm enough telling by the layers on layers on layers of soft pink, white and brown threads she had on. Despite her carefree attitude, she was most comfortable wearing neutral colours.
She was nervous.
White iPhone 5s in her left hand vigorously scrolling up and down her text messages – of course she wasn’t replying to any of them there’s no reception on the underground. No, instead she read the message back to herself over and over again.
“I’ll be at Charing Cross at 6:15pm.”
According to her phone it was 6:05pm.
She was very nervous.
As the tube continued to move she randomly remembered the day she turned 10. She decided to entertain the route her thoughts were guiding her through as a means to take her mind off her 6:15pm ‘meeting’.
“Did you enjoy your party?”
“Yes dad, I did! It was the best party ever!”
With her top two incisors missing she grinned widely and leapt towards her dad to hug him with the intention of not ever letting go. Both her parents had made her 10 year old heart full that day.
“Now that’s a hug! Let’s have a seat darling.”
At their round oak dining table, her dad had offered her a seat to make her feel “grown up”, she refused it and took her rightful place – her father’s lap. He couldn’t help but smile and look into the green eyes of his only child. Everyone said she looked like him, he never denied it.
“Darling, I’m very blessed to have you. Do you know that?”
She nodded slightly but with enough effort that her green-ribbon tied pigtails actually ‘wagged’ like pig tails.
Perplexed, she scrunched up her face when her dad gave out a deep and hearty laugh. He continued.
“Remember this,” he paused for a few seconds again looking into her eyes, “you are a blessing and you are blessed. Remain yourself always. May your innocent faith in God grow and may your carefree attitude be infectious. Take risks guided by God. Be who He has called you to be. Ok?”
Now she was confused by her father’s ramblings. Usually times like this her father would read her a story either from her Children’s animated Bible or her favourite book “Matilda” by Roald Dahl, nevertheless in her 10 years of living she had come to understand that the mention of “God”, “Jesus” and the “Holy Spirit” required an “Amen”, so she innocently said “Amen” giving her dad another hug as she didn’t know what else to do. “Being 10 isn’t going to be easy” she thought to herself.
“We are now approaching Charing Cross. Change here for the Northern Line and National Rail Services. Exit here for Trafalgar Square, the National Gallery and the National Portrait Gallery.”
The auto-prompter brought her back to her 32 year-old-self in 2016 if being 10 in 1994 was hard, then what was being 32 in 2016 going to be like? “Being 32 isn’t going to be easy” she thought to herself. It was now or never. With her brown rucksack on her back she gathered her two recyclable shopping bags full with work stuff and her mid-week food shopping. Her brain and heart apparently formed a rebellion against her while enjoying her throwback moment, because now, there was no way she could convince her mind to convince her heart that this was a very bad idea. She was already off the tube when she admitted defeat to them both.
In what seemed to be a trance-like-state, she found herself making her way up the escalators leading to the national rail trains – it had been a two-minute blur since getting off the tube… then she spotted him. She didn’t need to see his face to know it was him, silently thanking God that his back was facing her.
He stood tall and confident with his ginger hair slicked back, size nine antique brown brogues on his feet (of course) and his expensive fitted lapis-blue suit. She couldn’t help but notice how he held on tightly to his expensive Knomo black leather laptop bag in his left hand – either he was nervous or cold because his hand was incredibly red. She prayed that God will not allow him to turn around as she observed him from Metro newspaper stand as if to say that it was the newspaper stand she came to meet.
It was 6:13pm and she still hadn’t moved towards him.
Read part 2 here.