The old lady at the train station

I was at the train station last Friday, waiting for the train which would finally take me home after a hard working week to come. There I was, standing beside a bench where I put my backpack and laptop, hoping for the minutes to pass with out me noticing them, when I hear someone from the other platform talking in a loud voice.

I turned over to look to the person and I saw an old lady, loaded with two or three bags and asking, me this time, if I knew whether the next train to her destination would pass soon. As we´d started to talk to each other from platform to platform, I suggested her to cross to the side I was standing on so as to talk better.

So she did, showing a little difficulty to climb up some stairs to come where I was. I´ve tried to help her with her load, but she really didn´t need it; she looked like a woman perfectly used to manage herself alone.
Once we were at the same platform she told me that had taken the wrong train, going to the opposite direction. Then I tried to inform her about the different possibilities as I observed her: smaller than me, but a little bit excited and nervous, looked stronger and a lot more full of energy than I could show at that moment.

As she made up her mind, she asked me if I could please call her daugther from her cell phone; she didn´t know how to. The train was coming so I urged her to tell me what she was intended to do, in order to help her and not having to run to catch the train. We finally almost hopped on together and left the sunny mid-afternoon landscape from Montcada-Bifurcaciò.

In the train, she started telling me that 15 days ago she has had a little accident and hurted her head. She felt ok now, but couldn´t think clearly sometimes, she told me. When she realized, an hour before that moment, that she had taken the wrong train, her thoughts were dizzy, and couldn´t make up her mind quickly; she looked affected by that. I listened to her with attention but couldn´t help feeling some compassion; getting old is difficult, she complained. "My legs don´t respond as they used to and sometimes I cannot think clearly". When I suggested that she was carrying too much weight, she agreed and explained that she lived alone in Barcelona, and as her daughter didn´t want her to spend the weekend byherself, she was moving for two days with her. Therefore, one bag was full of clothes, the other, full of home-made food and some presents for her grand-daughter. "I was told not to bring anything, but I cannot show up empty-handed", she said, with the sweetest look in her eyes. I couldn´t say anything; I felt identified with her.

Time to get down, I said to her; then she thanked me enough for paying attention to her needs and helping her: I had to hold myself back from giving her a warm hug, but I smiled at her. She smiled back.

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