Train Station Girl

I like train stations. There's something about them that attracts me—the almost lazy air of waiting, the rush when the train arrives. It's a meeting place, a stop on a journey, the end of all, the beginning... But I am mumbling to myself again.

I sit up straighter, out of the slouch that my age and these confounded train station chairs seem to mould my body into, and look around.

My eyes slide over the few people here. A girl, perched on a seat a little way from mine, catches my eye. She is pretty and young—maybe eighteen—with curly, shoulder-length black hair. The thing that makes her stand out is that she does not have ear buds, and she is not using a phone. I am impressed. But then I realise that she seems nervous. She taps her fingers on the arm of the metal chair and her eyes dart like black, flashing dragonflies.

I wonder why. Maybe she's running late. Maybe she's scared.

I tell myself to stop being so nosy and deliberately turn my gaze away. There is a big family in the corner who are arguing loudly over something.

The train rushes in. I can see the girl in the corner of my eye. She is fidgeting even more now, running her fingers over her bag and fixing her hair with little brown pins.

The train doors swoosh open and people flood out. The big family hustle onto the train, and an empty plastic bag they left behind slides across the cement. The girl does not move. So she must be waiting.

Then, I realise that there is someone standing in front of her and I push myself up in alarm. He is a young man with a nice face, blond-haired and blue-eyed.

What? I do a double-take and stare at him, my eyes bulging. The train leaves, but it doesn't matter. I didn't come here to catch it anyway. But ... isn't that my grandson?

Trevor is still totally unaware of my presence and says something to the girl, who nods. Then he looks around. He stares at me sitting here, and goes pale as he recognises me.

The words girlfriend, grandmother, and catastrophic blunder flash through my mind. Our eyes lock; it's too late to pretend I haven't seen him.

I stand and walk up to them. My dear grandson looks like a tomato.

"Excuse me," I say, smiling. "Do you know which train just left?"

He looks at her, then at me, and stutters something.

"Oh thank you, young man." I walk off, turn the corner and lean against the wall, bubbling with laughter. Their voices float back to me.

"What was that about? Are you okay?" Trevor's girlfriend sounds concerned.

He laughs, relieved. "I'm all right."

I peek around to see them leaving the station, heads bent together, hands intertwined. They are way too close to each other, but I just shuffle out, muttering, "Kids these days..."


BTW, I'm totally going to be old like this :P