Emotional geography

How can a train station make you cry? Well, I was in tears on the train to and from visiting Mum as we went through our old station. So many memories – setting off for university, nervous and excited about the whole new life opening up; Mum coming to collect me at the station on my weekend visits; Mum no longer able to collect me and the relationship I built up with the taxi company; coming down for weeks at a time to look after her; calling a friend (now dead) from the station while waiting for a train home.

All these memories flash before me; I know this countryside so well, have watched it from the window hundreds of times. The other passengers notice me crying but this is England and no one says anything, thankfully.

On the return leg, the woman next to me has a terrible cough. I try  and turn my head every time and she does cover her mouth, but I’m tempted to move or ask her to move. My immune system is pretty frail these days. But then I think how that would play out, the carriage is full, so I’d have to find someone else who wouldn’t mind sitting next to a cougher. So I stay in place and try not to breathe when she coughs. So far so good.

Driving through London feels like the emotional geography of home. The taxi driver has a mother-in-law with dementia and we exchange stories and experiences, laughing and on the verge of tears both.



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