Some Thursdays Miss Evie alights from the school bus in something of a rage. Yesterday was one of these days. I understand this for the trials of Year 3 must be difficult for a young person. She was crying frustrated tears, I went to take her little paw but she pulled it away. Why? She had ink on her hands. And she had - the sort of thick and sticky ink contained in cheap ballpoint pens.
So we had to go to the bus station toilets. There were quite a few people waiting on the seats for it was a cold and windy day. I looked meaningfully at a young man with a holdall on the seat beside him. He removed it and I sat down because I knew it might be a long time before Evie and Martha would emerge. There was some light conversation with the other people waiting while behind the toilet door I could hear Evie’s frustrated sobs and Martha attempting to soothe her. Then the outside door opened and a tall young man burst in shouting.
You have to help me! You have to help me!
We all looked at him with interest. I don’t know what the other people thought but my guess was a medical emergency and that the bus station staff would take care of it. First aid, ambulances, that sort of thing. Probably happens all the time at bus stations.
He went on,
My girlfriend was on the train but she couldn’t open the door! And now she’s gone and she’s a foreigner and she won’t know what to do!
The person behind the desk explained to the young man that she couldn’t do anything as it was a matter for the railway staff and he’d have to ask them to help. But the next stop was Cullybackey and his friend could always get off there.
The young man was sobbing and distraught. He left the waiting room and another young fellow got up to see if he could help him which I thought very kind of him. But he was back in soon after as there was nothing to be done.
Meanwhile, Martha opens the door and says,
Granny, we need your help.
I went in. Evie still had ink on her hands and it wasn’t shifting. I told her not to worry as I had special stuff at home that would take it off and that mollified her. We left the waiting area.
The young man who had lost his girlfriend was outside, still distraught. It occurred to me that I was going to Cullybackey and that, teens of years ago, I’d have involved myself in his drama and ended up regretting it. But I didn’t because, for all I know, his girlfriend (if she even was his girlfriend) might have looked out to the platform, saw him, and thought to herself,
I’m not too sure about this one. I’m not getting off this train!
And we had our own drama to contend with. The ink on Evie’s hands.
When we got home I mixed sugar and cooking oil into a paste and Evie rubbed it into her hands and most of the ink disappeared. I told her the rest would wear off and that the sugar and oil paste was a special trick I learned from her Great-Grandmother Martha. She was OK after that.