The front of the Westport train goes to Galway

(Comfy throws at my Somatics class)

I was travelling on the 7.30am train from Dublin to Westport, last year. I had brought my crochet needle and wool, a magazine, bottle of filtered water, snacks, a pen and some paper. It’s a three and a half hour journey, I wanted to be prepared! Something you may not know about that Dublin to Westport train is that it goes to Galway too. Well, only the front bit of the train goes to Galway. It’s an efficiency thing, I think. The whole train goes as far as Athlone and then the front bit is unhooked and it goes onto Galway while the back bit goes to Westport. A bit worrisome the first time I travelled on it,  but once I realised which bit of the train I needed to be sitting in, it was fine.

(Rua the horse)

Anyway, this time I had spread my things out on the table and was settling into my crochet when the ticket collector came to check my ticket. He also checked the ticket of a male passenger (there was only two of us in the carriage) in a seat on the other side of the aisle from me. It seemed the man was going to Galway, but here he was sitting in the back bit of the train. The bit that was going to Westport! (Are you’re feeling my anxiety here?) Anyway, the ticket man explained that he needed to go to the front of the train and the man nodded. But… he didn’t move……

(Sally the angel and her stars)

The ticket man left to check the passenger’s tickets in the next carriage. I was doing my best to concentrate on my crochet and remain calm (why was I so worried?) when the man for Galway gets my attention by showing me his ticket and pointing to a station we are flying past.

I realise something….. he can’t talk.

I read his ticket, it said Galway (which I knew). I can talk so I assumed I could communicate. But I couldn’t. Not that I didn’t try. I did try…. (remember the problem with trying….?)

(Thierry’s cook books)

First, I spoke very clearly and concisely, saying, “No, you must move to the front of the train for Galway.” He nodded, and smiled, a lot, but he still didn’t move. So I had another idea, I wrote the same message on my notebook and handed it to him. He smiled and nodded again but still didn’t move. I began using hand gestures towards the front of the train. He had a lovely smile…. but he still didn’t move. My message was not being understood. I was starting to feel anxious again. There was still another hour until we arrived in Athlone, there was still time for him to get to the right part of the train. I had to come up with a plan. So I did. I decided I would take him by the arm and guide him to the front of the train just before we arrived in Athlone.

(Poker food….)

But I had a problem…. I had been up since 5am to get this train and I was now starting to feel drowsy. Usually I just doze off at some point but now I couldn’t possibly close my eyes in case I was asleep when we got to Athlone! While I’m contemplating this I look over and the man has fallen asleep! Now we are close to Athlone, I am a nervous wreck and I’ve ripped the crochet five times.

And then the ticket man returns.

(Poker chips)

He patiently wakes the man and tells him it’s time to move to the front of the train and communicates this somehow because the man gets up and follows him…. but not before giving me a big smile, a lovely smile.

And I thought….. there was nothing for me to worry about. I didn’t need to fix anything. All is well. It always was….

All is well, Mairead.

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