I had to catch a train the other day and I loathe public transport. I hate people being close to me, especially in a confined space so I always stand near the doors of the carriage. On this particular occasion I managed to get on a train which wasn’t too crowded. I took my usual standing spot and listened to music. At first I didn’t pay much attention to the old lady who was sitting nearby but as I looked more closely and lowered the volume of my music, I noticed she was talking. I surreptitiously looked around her for a mobile phone or an ear piece but she had nothing. She kept talking as though there was a person right in front of her and they were having a casual conversation. She was speaking in another language, which made me all the more curious about what she might be saying. I stood not far from her. I sort of felt like we both belonged on this part of the train together. I wasn’t afraid of her and she didn’t seem to notice my constant anxiety and how it makes my body jitter and shake (and no, I don’t look like I am dancing).
We pulled into a station and a few more people boarded the train. A man sat right next to the old lady and this seemed to bother her because she got up and moved seats. Now everyone was facing her, myself included.
She carried on talking but she covered her mouth and spoke much more quietly. Whatever she was saying, she didn’t want anyone else to know. She looked sort of smug and this unsettled me.
I wanted to know her secrets. I wanted to know who she was talking to and why we weren’t allowed to see what she was saying. I wanted to feel smug too, like I had all of the answers; like everyone else was completely oblivious.
I arrived at my destination and left behind the lady and her secrets. I headed off to an appointment where I shared some secrets of my own.