This conversation doesn’t have a lot of words – some just don’t need them to tell a story.
It’s Saturday morning and I’m waiting for the train into the city. A train from the city pulls into the platform opposite, a straggle of passengers disembark, and it pulls away. Standing opposite is a woman about my age, and with a quick glance I catch her eye briefly. She has an expression that I can’t quite put my finger on. Exhausted?
After I moment I look up again and notice she’s not alone She’s now walked up to a rubbish bin and has her arm around a young woman, who can only be her daughter, who is vomiting violently into the bin. Another young man is standing by, looking helpless. The three of them have come off the train.
The security guard in the office on my side of the platform can now see what’s happening so he comes out and yells across the platform, “Are you okay?”
At this point, the man sitting a few seats from me stands up and also replies to the security guard.
“It’s okay. We’re taking her to the hospital now.”
The security guard is concerned – concerned in the way you want a security guard at a train station to be – and gesticulates to Dad that he can go up and over the footbridge to the other platform if he wants to.
But Dad is not showing any urgency. I get the impression this might not be the first time.
I can see the girl better now. She’s anywhere between 16 and 20, black hair, black shirt, black shorts, black tights, black boots; face piercings that are taking a pounding from the muscular actions associated with severe spewing. Eventually mother and daughter decide they can make a slow and careful trek across to my side of the station.
While this happens, Dad and the security guard are in polite conversation, but I only hear fragments.
“… but what can you do?”