Station Stories

Chatting with a man waiting for a train.  “This is the first time I’ve seen my son in 3 months,” he says gesturing to the eight year old boy sitting in the waiting room.

“His mother was diagnosed with cancer and she went crazy and threw me out of the house and I haven’t seen her since.”

From the way he describes his ex-wife’s cancer, the poor woman’s not long for this world.  It’s ghoulish of me to be curious but boy oh boy I’d love know her side of this story.

 

Into the Pit?

An intellectually disabled man is bickering with his mother as they wait for the train.

“Take your coat off, you’re too hot,” she says.

He pouts.  “No! Shut up!”

3 minutes before the train I turn and see him at the edge of the pit sitting down and putting his legs over the edge. Is he about to jump onto the tracks?

“No, no, no!” I scream and rush at him, panic jolting through my nerves.  “Please stop!”  I grab his hood, which comes off in my hands, and then his collar and hold on hard, shouting, “No No!”

He bursts into tears and rolls back on the platform.

Now I feel like a brute. He wails like a small child as I apologize and tell him I’m not mad as him. “Please don’t cry,” I beg in front of the whole crowded platform.

His mother comes over, picks him up and pats him. I tell her I’m sorry for making her son cry

“I was going to let him sit till the train comes and then get him up,” she said. “It works better that way.  He’s always doing it. He never gets down on the tracks.”

I’m glad she knew what was going on.  When I was in training, they warned us to mentally prepare ourselves in case we saw someone hit by a train someday.  I honestly thought my turn had come.

As the train rolls in, I bring out some small gifts – a bottle of water and a zoo badge.  I still feel like a complete heel.

His face is red and soggy from crying but he’s pleased with the badge and gulps down the water gratefully.

“There you WERE hot,” says his mother. “I told you to take your coat off.”

“No! Shut up,” he says.

 

Lemon Scented Gums

I have the best work place.

“What’s that lovely smell?  It’s so fresh and lemony,” asked a Malaysian tourist yesterday as we watched the rain sheeting down outside the waiting room.  Truly I love standing under our big tin verandah and watching rain falling grey over the khaki coloured native trees in the park – especially if it’s warm rain.  The birds chortle with delight and the trees … Ah! Bliss.

“It’s the lemon scented gum trees,” I tell the impressed lady. “They let out a scent when it rains.”

There was the dark nutty undertone of wet wattle tree too.  Australian vegetation is gloriously smelly.

I do wish that I could get maintenance to fix my gutters though.  The roof overflows over the electrical box which is fortunately well sealed, the air conditioner, which I turn off as a precaution and me as I enter the office. All the more reason to stay outside and enjoy the rain.