Wednesday, 20 November 2019

Train trips: Eight

This is the eighth post in a series. The first in the series went up on 27 July 2019. This series is similar in its execution to the ‘collage’ series that started in May 2017.

14 August

Caught the train back from Lakemba to the city. I was with a friend and we had had some biryani and roast chicken and pickles in a restaurant on Haldon Street. We got to the platform after lunch and waited for the train. There were some other people on the platform and when the train arrived we went upstairs to the top deck and sat down in two vacant seats on a bench of two.

Two schoolboys in their teens were on two facing benches of three seats in front of us and across the aisle. A group of women got on the train who had with them a toddler, a girl. The woman who appeared to be the girl’s mother sat down on the mezzanine level with a pram. Two women aged in their twenties came upstairs and sat down in two seats in front of us. Two women in their fifties who were also with the group sat down next to one of the schoolboys, who were facing each other. Another woman, who looked to be aged in her early 40s, sat down opposite the older women on an empty seat. On the seat directly in front of us the toddler was sitting next to one of the young women.

The schoolboys got off the train at Campsie. The two young women who were part of the group who were sitting upstairs made a big fuss of the small girl, smiling at her, talking to her in high-pitched voices, high-fiving her, and taking photos of her with their phones. The small girl, whose dark hair had been done for her so that it was tucked away neatly, was having a great time, looking out the window and occasionally getting up on her feet and walking toward the aisle. When she did this, the young woman seated next to her would hold her arm to stop her from proceeding any further.

This woman, who sat in the seat in front of us, used her phone at one stage and answered a message from someone she was having a conversation with, who asked, “Are u home?” She replied by sending a photo of the small girl along with a message, evidently telling her friend that she was out with friends (or family, it wasn’t clear which category the others fit into; possibly some of both). The woman in the single seat in front of her, who had very wavy dark hair, was sitting sideways so that she was facing the aisle, the better to be able to monitor the activities of the child.

The woman directly in front of us was carrying out a sporadic conversation, across the gap separating the two of them, with the woman on the mezzanine who I had guessed to be the child’s mother. The child would occasionally turn around and smile at me, then turn back to look out the window again.

The young women looked to be second-generation Australians from a background that would place their parents as coming from a country in the Middle East. The two older women had accents and were evidently first-generation. My friend and I got off the train at Town Hall at 1.45pm.

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