Tag Archives: train

The End of Happiness

 A couple on the train:

“What do you make of him there”, she whispered, nodding slightly.

“Who?”

“Shh!”, she hissed. “Him in the green jacket, standing there reading. Don’t stare.”

He glanced up quickly and saw a grey-bearded, bald man with round glasses standing by the door reading, one hand in the pocket of his green jacket.

“What about him?”

“See what he’s reading – The End of Happiness. Bit depressing.”

“D’ you think he’s unhappy then?”

“How should I know. Most old people look unhappy.”

“Think so?”

“At work it’s always the older one’s complaining.”

She moved closer, leaning into his body. “You’re not like that though, well most of the time.”

“Wait till I get to his age”, he said pulling a face, “when I’m sixty four!”

“But I’ll still love you. And make you happy.”

“But The End of Happiness. Wonder what it’s about?”

“Probably the usual, woman ran off and left him broke and lonely.”

“Cynical, that’s what you are” she said, punching him lightly in the midriff. “I think she left because there was no happiness left in their lives.”

“You mean they used it all up until there was none left?”

“No, not really, but why carry on when it’s over?”

“Look, look”, he whispered, “he’s smiling to himself. Maybe he is glad it ended”.

“What, happiness?”

“No, their life together, remember you said his woman had run off. Maybe to someone else who still had some happiness left over.”

“Would you run off if you weren’t happy with me anymore?”

“Of course”, she said.

He pretended to be offended by her teasing.

“You know, I’ve seen him before, always standing and reading. Never sits down.”

“So what, maybe he likes standing. Growing good, my gran always said.”

“C’mon, we can stand too. I want to get closer.”

“You mad? What’s this all about? Fancy him do you?”

“Nooo! But there’s something about him.”

“Calm down, he’s getting off. Sometimes I just don’t get you.”

 

A man in a green jacket:

 It had been a distinctly unpleasant journey. I felt their eyes on me as soon as they sat down, burning through my book like sun rays through a magnifying glass. Or rather her eyes; bold and staring, as though trying to reach into my soul. I read the same line over and over, thoughts wandering. Sensing her staring at me, I suddenly looked up. She turned away quickly, moving closer to the man, guilty mouth gaping. Whispering furtively but getting little response. My eyes lingered on the couple for a moment or two, then returned to the familiar lines in the book. The train screeched to a halt and, turning away, I felt the muscles in my face relax. I could finally escape.

 

Train Connection

The fat bulldog showed little interest in following its owner onto the underground train. “All aboard. Mind the doors” commanded the loudspeaker, but the dog still didn’t budge. The owner half dragged and half lifted the heavy beast into the train just before the doors slammed shut. Breathing heavily from the effort, the dog  flopped down on the floor, legs splayed like a cartoon dog dropped from on high. His owner leaned nonchalantly against the carriage wall, pulling out his phone.

Two stops later the owner made for the door, dog slowly waddling after, leaving behind an atmosphere of lethargy in the carriage. Passengers on their way home from work seemed to share the feelings of the bulldog.

Nobody reacted to the woman who moved swiftly down the aisle of the carriage, seemingly in a hurry to get off before the doors closed. She wore a black hijab, floor-length wide grey skirt and a long dark purple tunic. She was not strikingly pretty but quite attractive, in her late 30’s or early 40’s. Almost at the exit, she turned and banged her fist down on the shoulder of a man sitting next to the window, with his back to her. He jumped up, startled. The closest passengers looked up from their smart phones at this disturbance. The man was African, tall and slim, in his mid-20’s, wearing a blue quilted winter jacket and smart jeans. He instinctively turned towards his assailant, holding out his hand to keep his balance. The woman quickly pushed a screwed up paper into his hand, turned and almost running disappeared into the rush-hour crowd on the platform. Nothing was said. The man remained standing, as in a state of shock, and slowly opened his hand. He held it out at arm’s length for all to see. In his palm lay a few screwed-up banknotes. Incredulous, he stared at the crumpled notes for what seemed an eternity. Then he deliberately turned his hand upside down so that the notes sailed down onto the carriage floor. As if to say, this has nothing to do with me. He sat down again. A sympathetic smile from the young woman opposite made him feel a little more at ease. Together they peered down at the notes lying on the dusty floor. After exchanging an embarrassed glance, he decided the best thing was to pick up the notes and stuff them into his jacket pocket.

This is a true story. The woman was taking a big risk. If the doors had closed before she had time to escape from the train, or if the man had chased and caught up with her on the platform, what would have happened? A real life “Sliding Doors”.