The last-train people
Tim and Jenny have been to see a play in the West End. A rare expedition that required exhaustive timing in order to catch the last train home. Jenny did not want to be like Aunt Bunty, who confidently believed Godot arrived after she’d had to leg it to Waterloo station.
So here they are, squished on the 23.15 with the chipcrunching, beer-slurping, mobile-chatting last-trainers. Tim, always a stickler for looking on the bright side, says they were lucky to get a seat. Jenny is worrying whether the dog-sitter remembered to give Tigger his pills. On the way up (the 16.42, as they wanted to have a bite before the show), she’d agonised about whether she’d left the iron on. Really, patronising the arts is hard work. And no one had told them that the male parts in the play were all going to be performed by women.
Jenny supposes that it is a mercy no one dresses up for the theatre any more, so she was able to wear comfy shoes. Who knew if they might have had to run for the last train, not to mention the interminable walking required to change Tube lines. The price of taxis is almost more than the theatre tickets and since Uber has not reached Lower Chipping they do not have the app. And the traffic in London these days! They’d certainly have missed the train and the joy of sitting in a fug of burger smell. Jenny couldn’t do this on her own, she’d actually clung to Tim’s hand as they’d been propelled along the platform by a tide of humanity.
As crisp packets waft along the aisle, they both feel the quiet desperation of being out of the swim. No longer Londoners, no longer blind to the noise and the people. Parochial, which they had sworn never to become, longing to return to the bucolic certainties of a cold house and blocked gutters.
As the rigours of the journey fade, Tim and Jenny will tell everyone, with the superiority of the cultured, that the play was marvellous.
Tim, always looking on the bright side, says they were lucky to get a seat
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