They had given me the wrong burger. I paid for a large but I received a small so I was pretty pissed off already. I had reserved the window seat so the journey wasn’t a complete disaster. “You know, I always forget to get off at my stop.” She had been sitting across the table umming and ahhing, trying to get my attention for the past half an hour. Yes, I saw the attempts at eye contact. No, I am not one of those people who make friends with strangers to pass the time. The subtle conversation starters had clearly been abandoned, whilst unavoidable and unending commentary of her self hating habits had been opted in.
“I don’t know what it is. I mean you would have thought that after doing this journey a hundred times I would know by now. Actually, there was this one time that I remembered! But, well, I forgot my bags on the train. Imagine that; the one time I remember my stop and I forget my bags.”
This went on for a while. When my eyes drifted from the bags overflowing in the seat beside her to the passing scenes of fields she directed her voice, mid-story, to the lady next to me. “I love to fill my time with reading on trips like this. I love this one. My dog had such problems training until I started using this.” The lady fumbled about in her seat, smiling at necessary points in the narrative and glanced at the people across the aisle for some advice on how to stop the incessant chatter. Eventually she decided that she had the answer wrapped in tin foil. “Um.. would you like half?” She passed over half a cheese and ham sandwich. It was declined with a look of detest as though she was offended by the interruption.
Unsure what to do now, she decided to just eat both halves. The ham had stuck to the bread, which were both sticking to the roof of her mouth revealed by the recognisable smacking sound of saliva coagulating into a paste. Both noises snagged at my sanity till they got off after three more stops. A Dog’s Soul And How To Love It lay on the table.