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Bonzer Words!: The Morning Train

Kath Mounsey's story reveals the satisfactory result of a smile during a train journey.

Kath writes for Bonzer! magazine. Please visit www.bonzer.org.au

She had been travelling on the same train for months, and usually had her nose in a book as soon as she had found a seat. However, this morning there seemed to be more commuters than usual and she had to stand at first. When she finally found a seat, she opened her brief case to find that she had left the latest book on the kitchen bench. Oh well, nothing for it but to sit there with a glazed look on her face like all the rest.

However, her eyes began roving around her fellow passengers and she found herself making up stories about them.

Two teenage boys from one of the prestigious colleges were standing close by and she overheard their conversation.

'Did you do that homework last night?' asked one.

'Nah,' replied his companion. 'I never do homework and I get by.'

She thought, you might come a thud when you get out in the real world, with an attitude like that. More effort, please!

Further down the carriage a couple were kissing goodbye. His must be the next stop and you would have thought they were being parted for ever. It was quite touching to watch, however the next stop came and went and the passion kept on. 'Love's young dream,' she thought.

The peace, if you could call it that, was shattered by several mobile phones going off. Why, oh why, do people have to talk at the top of their voice when using these things? she wondered. She tried to shut out the conversations, but it was impossible. Uh oh, that must have been some night last night. Did I really need to know that? And the 'suit' sitting next to her had his laptop out and was dictating data to his Personal Assistant. Really, couldn't all that wait until he reached the office, she wondered.

There was a couple, grim-faced and silent, across the aisle. I bet they have had the daddy of all fights over breakfast, she thought. The woman spoke but he ignored her and went on doing the crossword. Actually, that seemed to be the preferred activity among the majority of passengers. Nobody looked at anybody else, no smiles or good mornings. What a way to start the day.

She remembered her mother telling of her journey to work each day when she was young. You took the same carriage morning after morning and everyone smiled and talked to each other. There was one story she loved to tell about the morning she was running late and bundled into the carriage, only to trip and fall. As she tried to get up, she found she was 'walking' up the inside of her full skirt!

It took two gallant gentlemen to hoist her onto her feet again. Everyone was so friendly it didn't seem at all embarrassing. Perhaps she should try smiling at people herself. Would I dare? she wondered.

As the train plunged down into the underground, the windows became like mirrors, reflecting people further down the carriage. She noticed a rather handsome fellow looking at her in the window beside him. She looked away swiftly and then thought There I go, doing the very same thing. So she took a quick peek and found he was still eyeing her.

Mmm, I wonder if he is attached? What am I thinking; of course he would be. All the good ones are! The train finally pulled into the main station and everyone left. She hurried out into the street and walked to the building where she worked.

The next week, she intentionally left the book on the bench and entered the same carriage each day. And, sure enough, there was the good-looking fellow again. One morning, she thought, what have I got to lose? and gave him her brightest smile. He worked his way down the crowded carriage until he was standing in front of her.

'Good morning,' he said. 'I've noticed you every morning for months, but didn't have the nerve to speak. I think we both work in the same building. Would you care to meet me after work for coffee?'

That was the beginning of a romance which led to her now standing before the mirror in her wedding dress, thinking what might have been, if she had not had the courage to smile at a stranger.


Kath Mounsey

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