Watching People on Trains

OK so I cheated again with my last Friday Flash. I cheated because it really happened. I watched it happen on a train to London. But something about that little ‘scene’ stuck with me. I think it was the girl’s eloquence in stating her feelings. If you’re alone with someone and they take a phone call, don’t you feel left out?  Even a bit sad, maybe? Not to the same extent as Lydia (that’s not her real name, by the way) but still. Would you ever tell the other person how they’re making you feel? Didn’t think so.

I guess what fascinated me so much was that this little girl was able to identify and state her feelings with complete clarity. As adults we tend to ignore our feelings a lot of the time, or keep them hidden at least. Nobody wants to make a scene, right? Children, however, don’t care if they make a scene. If something’s not gone their way and they’re upset about it, they show it. So when do we learn to hide it?

Another thing that fascinated me was that when the mum finished her phone call she asked the little girl what was wrong and the little girl couldn’t answer. Maybe she couldn’t identify and therefore state that she’d been sad because her mum had been ignoring her with the same clarity or maybe, in this case, she hid and repressed her feelings. Maybe now that it was over, she had no need to tell her mum how she felt and why, so she didn’t. Maybe I witnessed her go through that stage of development, from complete honesty and openness about your feelings, with no thought to the consequences or what people think, to repressed emotions.

Anyone got any similar stories?


One thought on “Watching People on Trains

  1. it’s totally not cheating. Unless you admit it. (Just kidding) Seriously, most writers do this and some of our greatest (Steinbeck) were famous for it.

    As for the arc of this child, that’s really fascinating. We do learn to repress our emotions, and sometimes that is appropriate and other times it is harmful to us and to those we love.

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