Another train, another stranger. I wrote this post on Friday whilst travelling home late at night.
That song has been whirling around my head for the last hour. Ok, before you get carried away I am not pondering the love of my life I am actually replaying a conversation in my head that I had on platform 5 at Shrewsbury Station Its’ that time of the week and I am returning home from Cardiff. Today has been particularly difficult as I am a little worse for wear. That’s what comes of agreeing to go out on my bosses leaving do and not sticking to my golden rule of no alcohol mid week but that is a story for another day. I have spent the whole day being very annoyed with myself for a couple of reasons, the first being for getting tipsy the previous evening and now feeling like death warmed up and the second for saying something that might have upset somebody.
So, having spent 7 hours in meetings I legged it from the office at the first opportunity. (Don’t you just love that saying? Legged it……… for those non-English people it is a slang saying for departed rather quickly, Scarpered that’s another word I love. All of these sayings can have negative connotations but I just find them rather funny) I digress, back to the self flagellation…An early dart meant that I could catch an early train and ponder some more on what to do about my believed faux pas. I decide that there is nothing for it but to send an email and apologise. I am lucky enough to have a blackberry for work and so access to emails on the train is a lucky thing (I would say Godsend but as I don’t believe in God then I am not sure how he could send it.). Email written and the send button pushed before I could think more I find myself alighting at my first stop.
The problem with the early train is that, when changing at Shrewsbury, my connection onwards has an hour interval so I have to find ways to amuse myself. My amusement of choice tonight was to wander into the coffee shop and have a sandwich and a cup of tea. Now because of my delicate nature I had not eaten or drank all day so I am not quite sure where my mischievous energy came from when the lovely man on the counter made a mistake on the cost and said that because I was nice he would let me off with the difference as long as I wasn’t a mystery shopper. Well what is a girl to do? That is just leaving me no option but to pull his leg (that’s the bit where I was surprised by my energy to joke) so I told him that I might be, poor man went white and continued to try to find out if I was, I left him guessing which resulted in him fussing around me bringing me a top up, tidying the tables, asking if I would like to see wifi in the café, I decided to wander out to the platform I am not used to all this service but before I go I explain to him that I was pulling his leg and if I was a mystery shopper, even if he had failed I would have given him a nice report. I must admit to feeling quite mischievous indeed for some reason. Out on the platform and my email light flashes on the phone. I open it up to a really lovely reply from the person who I thought I had offended and it brings a smile to my face. I am happy and at peace with the world again (well apart from the headache and the bleary eyes)
So there I am standing on the platform, cup of tea in one hand, blackberry in the other, the glow from the screen lighting the dark corner I had wandered to. Suddenly from the shadows a man appeared. Very dishevelled, ok a bit smelly, and with about 4 bags in tow. I looked over to him and smiled and then we struck up a conversation that went like this
Him: – “Hello my lovely, would you like to go to MacDonald’s for tea with me”
Him: – “ Don’t worry, you can pay if it makes you feel better”
Me: – coughs and splutters as I choke on the mouthful of tea
Him: – “ Its very nice is MacDonald’s”
Me: – “Well, it is very nice to ask me but my train is due soon.”
Him: – “That’s what all the girls say”
Me: – “Well maybe you should try somewhere other than the train station to try Chat up the ladies “
Him: “You have a point “
Me: “And what, may I ask attracted you to me.?”
Him… ponders then says “Your smile lights up my life”
Him. “Never mind I will be off”
Me Hands over a £5 note “Have a nice big Mac and will you eat an apple pie for me?”
Him kisses my hand “You are a living angel and I think I love you. But what are you so afraid of? Live your life now just in case you end up like me.”
Then he fades back into the shadows and I watch him limp along the platform heading for the exit. Slowly but surely he disappears down the stairs.
Me……….. I am left standing on the platform, cup in one hand blackberry in another and the screen lighting up my smile how right he is! So I give myself a break about going out on a week night and drinking one two many wines, for feeling delicate all day, I am proud of myself for having the courage to say sorry to somebody for something instead of brooding on it and turning it into a bigger issue.
Now, on the second train of the day I feel the need to write the story because I don’t want to forget it. As I am typing I remember the last time I met a wonderful old man on a previous train journey and I realise, all of this journeying through my life on trains is bringing me much more than exhaustion. It is allowing me to meet some wonderful, interesting and wise people. If I were to stop and make an effort to connect with people I might start accepting all the little gifts of wisdom that they give to me. .
I think I love you…………. So what am I so afraid of?