Thursday, 12 May 2011

the old lady in the waiting room

It is nearly ten o'clock at night. In the station waiting room an old lady sits next to a small red suitcase, eating blueberries from a plastic box. She places them, one by one, inside her mouth, nips off the stalk. Munches. Grabs another. Her jaw quivers. She holds the plastic box of blueberries on her lap on a plastic bag, that she's removed from inside another plastic bag. She folds the bags, with decisive yet trembling gestures, puts them in her suitcase for a later date. The bags look reused, as though they have travelled round the world, visited Peru and the African plains. She looks at me across the empty room. I am eating a salad from inside my own plastic bag, with a spare spoon that I carry for such occasions. I have a paper napkin spread over my lap, to catch the crumbs from a bread roll that I took from the hotel breakfast buffet. We bite, chew and swallow in two separate rhythms. A homeless man walks in, betrayed by worn shoes. When he leaves, she looks up at me, with watery blue eyes, "Has he gone?", "Yes", I reply. " No fear, god will protect us" she says, crocking an ear to catch my words. As she shows me her ticket, I discover she has missed her train, that the last one is leaving in only two minutes. I rush her down to the platform, through lifts and escalators, bundle her onto the high speed train. She suddenly asks me, "What is your name?", when I answer she replies, "I'll pray for you".


Christina Rosalie said...

Such gorgeous writing. I'm so happy to have found your words... this scene is so vivid and heartbreaking and wonderful all at once.

lasuza said...

Thanks Christina, for your words and thoughts.