Today, I just squeezed on to a packed train to London. I was crushed kneecap to kneecap with a bunch of other people… in the middle of a heatwave. We eyeballed each other. Either we could get tense and irritable…
…or we could chat.
Luckily, three massive suitcases on the floor created a slight clearing. It turned out that two of them belonged to a family on their way to Istanbul and fellow passengers suggested they visit the Spice Market, the Blue Mosque.
But that still left one enormous suitcase unaccounted for. A woman my age had her hand on it.
“Going somewhere nice?”
“Actually, there’s nothing in this suitcase,” she replied, “It’s empty.”
People were listening now.
“My daughter has split up with her boyfriend. I’m going to his flat to pick up her stuff. Then I’m going to bring this case back on the train again, full.”
“In this heat?”
“What a horrible job.”
“Your daughter is lucky to have you.”
“These things happen,” she said.
When her stop came up, we all wished her good luck and watched her small figure trundling her suitcase resolutely up the platform.
I sometimes grumble about driving for two or three hours each way to shift the goods and chattels of one or other child at university. I’m going to try to grumble less.