Having my heartbroken at Starbucks…
Drinking a latte, overlooking the platform in Starbucks at Paddington. Watching the bustle of travel and journeys that we make, we rarely get an insight into the lives of the people who make these journeys. Sometimes, a snatched conversation you hear, an observation, a connection allows you a tiny glimpse, fleeting. Mostly its all anonymous.
But over my latte with the luxury of a late train, I couldn’t help but overhear a conversation next to me. A lovely, well spoken lady sat with a small curly-haired boy aged about 10. She was talking to him about his choices. In reality of course he didn’t have many at 10. As the snippets flowed it was hard not to simply crane my neck and listen, rather than pretend I could’nt hear. “You don’t have to …” she said. “I know how hard this is for you, but try it and see and if not change next September”. The boy looked pale, sad, a sea of emotion underneath his face. “I am so sorry but I have to go back to work….I am so late……” she said …..“You have been so good about it all….”
I gathered my things and finished my drink. As I stood, our closeness, my face and my place in their world was recognised by a smile from her. I was part of this now. I smiled back. For a moment, it looked like she was asking for help. I looked at the boy as I buttoned my coat. “You’ll be prime minister one day…and you can tell everyone else what to do”…..I said, mustering a can do and my best lift in opposite effect to what I actually felt. He smiled as if he had caught the lift . “I moved to London and he lives with his Dad…” She said. I smiled back and then told him about some experience I had a long time ago and that one day he would be ok but I guess its tough. I had already crossed a line but they both seemed slightly relieved. A stranger breaks the circle.
Anyway, I thought about this moment. Thought about it a lot. Especially at holidays times. I wondered about them and him. But more than that I wondered about how strangers can find themselves part of an intimate moment and how, when they are, they do nothing … It’s not my business….
But then I wondered. What if it was?