Strangers on a train


I tend to have my priorities confused when I worry, especially when I travel.

See, I was traveling back up to Sheffield on the train, as I seem to do frequently and was probably reading or playing a game on my phone which involves tapping the screen until you get points when a man entered the train car. Being close to the door, I glance up, and he's standing there, looking a bit tired and dishevelled, holding a load of bags in his hands.

He glances down at me and asks if this is coach C. I tell him that yes, it is and he breathes a sigh of relief. My eyes dart back down to the screen or the page, and I see, out of the corner of my eyes, him placing all his bags into the luggage holding bit I happened to be sitting next to.

The man leaves, and the train carries on its journey. Two hours later, bored of whatever activity I was doing (I think at the time I was going over a drawing I had already started and was already happy with, and was merely going over it to impress the people who were walking past, as you do), I look around the train coach. It being almost the end of the line, and now night-time, it's all pretty empty, save for about two people.

But the man who put his luggage down was not there. His stuff, all three large laundry bags, was still there, propped up leaning on my own luggage, but he was nowhere to be found. I shrugged and got back to minding my own business. An hour later, though, and the man still wasn't there.

That's when I started to worry. Immediately, probably fueled by all the messages the intercom kept giving us about unattended luggage, I immediately thought: great. there's a bomb on the train.

And I worried, not for the bomb, or the loss of my life or anything, but primarily because A) if the bomb were to go off, the carriage would probably be disconnected from the rest of the train, leaving us behind and b) that, because he just threw his bags over mine, the bombs would damage all my stuff, not to mention my computer and the 3D animation files I've been working so damn hard on.

I worry about the wrong kind of things. I was almost going to jokingly ask him, when he finally came back, if there was a bomb in these bags. But he was black. My inner Englishman (I hate him) told me it was probably best not to go around asking black guys if they brought bombs on trains. It might get you labeled racist.

I went back to planning a short story.