Thursday, February 15, 2018

Taking my seat on the train to Fleet I notice that a man on the other side of the aisle has raised his hand to cover the side of his mouth. He is saying something to the woman sitting opposite him. She looks at me fleetingly, he does the same, and both look away again with a suppressed laugh. The man is obscuring a little girl who is sat next to the window. She leans forward and peers round him in order to gain a view of me.

None of this wounds me. Instead, I am left with an impression that the girl is full of sorrow, that she is also excluded by this relationship. Her parents begin to busily write text messages on their mobiles, and it is clear to me that in this way, although they are facing each other, they are carrying on with their ridicule. Reacting to each message, they take it in turns to show quiet amusement until they get up to alight at Walton-on-Thames, followed by the unacknowledged girl.