The Girl on The Train

August 16, 2013

The decals of instruction on how to break the windows and escape from the TGV carriage in case of a wreck have upset a little boy sitting across the aisle. The graphic shows a figure striking the window. He tries to peel off the decals with his little fingers. His mother struggles with him, a muted struggle though, because French children don’t throw tantrums like American children do. The young woman directly across from me, a university student one surmises from the book she reads, the grey hand-knit sweater and casually wrapped purple neck scarf, smiles faintly as she watches the three little boys, ages 1 thru 4. Maternity dreams for herself perhaps, an instinctual yearning. I have it myself and the presence of rambunctious children tends more to amuse me than irritate. The young woman has strongly defined eyebrows, full lips, short un-tapered fingers, nails plain. Her skin has a soft caramel tone, but this is probably inherited rather than from the sun. Her arms are strong, without being sinewy. Her features will coarsen as she ages, but now, at 20 something, she is very pretty and desirable. I, of course, at my age, am essentially invisible to her. She wears glasses with thick dark frames, exactly the right choice for someone with such defined eyes.  She is reading a translation of Amistead Maupin, Tales of the City, a well-worn, pre-read paperback with a picture of the Golden Gate Bridge on the cover. I am struck by how wide is the community of mankind. June 2011.

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