Hungover and feeling sorry for myself I have just boarded a train for the final leg of a long journey. I am sitting across from an older man who has dressed for Sunday. When I’m his age I’ll dress for Sunday I think to myself.
As I open my paper I look up. A woman has appeared by my seat. The train is less than half full and very silent.
“Excuse me” she says to the middle aged woman who is seating adjacent to me.
“Where is the toilet on this train?” she asks.
“I don’t know. I’m ever so sorry” the middle aged woman replies.
The toilet seeking lady looks at me.
I look up. She has thin hair and hasn’t put her make up on very well.
“I don’t think there are any toilets” I say. I want to add an ‘ever-so-sorry’ but on
account of my Irishness and hangover I don’t think I’ll pull it off, so I don’t.
The woman stares back at me. My eyes creep back to my paper.
She remains standing, over my shoulder. I can hear her bladder filling but admit it’s probably the hangover.
Finally, a fat man, bless him, pipes up and confirms she’ll have to hold.
“Gosh something or other” she says.
She’s speaking to us like we’re all in it together, strangers on a train bound by shared experience. We’re not though.
She sits back down.
How rude I think. This woman has totally ruined my trip. How am I supposed to enjoy my hangover and newspaper knowing this lady’s is bursting for the toilet? I mean how bad is it? Should I put some paper down?
I try to forget about it but can’t. Her shifting is right in my eye-line. Reading the Sundays with a hangover is hard enough without all of this I think.
The train stops. We’re not at a station. This could be a disaster.
The driver makes an announcement apologising for the delay. He’ll keep us informed he says.
We all look at the woman. She gives a squirmy smile.
I sigh and wish I didn’t know she was dying for a piss.