This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 38; the thirty-eighth edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton. The theme for the month is “The Woman on Platform Number 10”
I was standing in the main courtyard of Paddington station with electronic display boards, men and women wrapped in scarves and the aroma of freshly brewed coffee surrounding me. When written this way it may feel surreal, but in reality I was late and the scenario didn’t seem pretty. The antique clock up high reminded of my boss Alex’s face which looked like a beetroot when he got angry. For a moment I went blank in my head, not knowing where to go next. I had my tickets, I already knew where to board my train, and still, my feet were glued before my favourite coffee kiosk. Like every Tuesday, I saw her again today. She was whom everyone referred to as the woman on platform number 10. She wore a mustard yellow parka with a skirt and stood there on the same platform every Tuesday for the whole day. She was the only passenger who never boarded a train from Paddington. I guess today she’s late too, she passed by me hurriedly towards her platform.
I have been witnessing her act for the past few months. She never seemed to miss a Tuesday for her day-out at the Paddington. I had, like all others, wondered why she would do it week after week. She was not a homeless asking for help, or a beggar. She looked quite well-off in her clothes and accessories. Yet, she looked as hapless as anyone could be. At times she looked as if she has lost everything in life. Her attire kept changing with different climates and seasons, but the mustard parka was always there. The pale mustard seemed to reflect its paleness on her face too. Some days I noticed her, other days I was in a hurry or pre-occupied with books or my tiny music player. I too inquired about her, like everyone else. No one had the courage to ask directly about her plight, and yet everyone seemed to know her reason. My co-passengers had always whispered among themselves about her, on Tuesdays. From the scrapes of their conversations, I gathered that a man had left her, boarding a train from platform number 10 in Paddington, and never came back. She waited, every Tuesday for him to return. She is not insane, she works somewhere nearby, leads a normal life and yet there is this bit of insanity in her to wait for her lover every Tuesday.
I lead a normal life too – I have a grumpy boss, a demanding girlfriend, irritating friends and distant parents. Yet, every time I see her, I seem to gradually realize her insanity and loneliness. Her pale mustard parka and black scarf in contrast have become a symbol of something to me, something unexplainable, not insanity. People around me whisper how she’s wasting her days waiting for an imbecile. I feel a pang when I see her though, I feel as if she’s giving back her debt of memories to life in the form of a few days. I feel I too will become insane some day, and wait for eternity, perhaps in Paddington itself.