You know, anybody can see a story as long as they are aware and listen and observe. I don’t have to go out of the way to find a story anymore, because at least 1 or 2 times a week I have one right in front of my eyes. On the day of this story I was on the train coming home from work and saw something I didn’t really expect to see on that day, or well, any other day for that matter. What I saw shocked me at first, and then it was funny and then it was sad. Now it is forever one of those images that will be in my mind, even though I didn’t ask for it to be there. I feel very sad about it now and wonder about her, that lady that I saw on a hot day in June in Austin, Texas…
Crazy hot that day. Coming home on the train was nice though because the air conditioning is awesome. I was sitting up front right behind the train conductors cab at the 4 seater where there is a table in the middle. I was across from a lady that I have become “train” friends with and another lady sitting next to her. Next to us at the other 4 seater with a table, were a mother and her 2 young girls, 9 and 7. It was the girls very first day to ride a train and they were just so excited. That’s always great to see. I had already spoken to them quite a bit since the ride from downtown station where we got on, so I knew a bit of their story too.
The train had already stopped at a few stops and we were coming up to Highland Mall station. It was fairly loud in the train that day but nothing more than usual for an afternoon. Since I was sitting against the conductors cab, I was facing everybody else on the train, as they were facing me…if you get my drift. The only other person sitting the way I was sitting was the 9-year-old girl who was with her mom. She was facing her younger sister who was sitting next to their mother. They had been talking; I was talking to my train friends….all very normal stuff. I looked over to my left as the train rolled to a stop. I see some people stand outside waiting for the train to stop and then I see the lady. She was short, she was large, she was middle-aged and had short hair. She was holding her mouth open as I noticed she didn’t have a few of her teeth. She was squinting looking at the top of the train rolling to a stop. She also was holding a purse tight around her shoulder and looking up as though she was trying to read something on the top of the train.
I had seen this lady before my train friends did and we were all talking anyway so I slipped back into the conversation easily, as my glance to the lady was only a split second or two. People get on and off the train frequently, so you become pretty oblivious to the crowd. My friends and I continued chatting as my thoughts of the lady outside the train fade out of my mind. Then, the train moves.
I am looking at my friend across the seat from me and as she turns her head to see outside…there is a collective gasp from many people on the train at the same time. I hear the words “Look” or “Oh my god!” or “Mom, look!” and “Whaat?” My friend looks at me and quickly says to me “look at that lady” and points outside as the train starts to leave the station. I turn my head to the left where she is pointing and there’s the lady again, but this time walking away from the station. That is when I see her bare bottom just hanging out…way out. And then I noticed she is a very large lady, a short very large lady with her pants, hugging her cellulite bottom about ¾ of the way down her bottom. The black pants blended in with her bottom and she seems to have no idea that her pants were falling off. But the pants were too tight around her bottom to fall off. It really was shocking to see. Some people on the train let out gasps and continue to stare at her as we roll away. It became a very sad image as it all sunk into my brain. I can’t help but stare when she moves away with her head down, walking slowly across the grass.
I hear the 7-year-old girl who is still covering her eyes saying “Ohh, ohhh mom, ohh I can’t believe that! Did you see that mommy?” Then the 2 girls start talking about what they saw as the mother looks at me and I can tell she is asking me with her eyes “Does this happen often?” I say out loud “No, I haven’t seen anything like this before.” The girls continue to talk but the 7-year-old seems pretty rattled by the whole thing. She is still shaking her head and holding her hands against her eyes as if to try to cover the image and then she says “I don’t think I will get that out of my memory mommy.” I look at the girl as she says this and she isn’t laughing or anything…she’s just trying to process this. And I remember consciously thinking to myself that this 7-year-old girl grew up just a little bit in those few moments on her first unforgettable train ride.