Surprisingly her train was on time. Today she was careful. She went to the correct platform. It was 12 noon. There were only a few people around, looking lonely. She boarded a quiet coach and was happy to find her favourite, forward-facing-window seat with a table, waiting for her. The only other person there was a young man sitting by the window opposite, immersed in his phone and lost in a world of his own, between the big black and red headphones planted over his ears. Both his feet, with shoes on, were resting on the seat opposite. Her head rankled aloud and she was filled with such severe disapproval that she nearly turned around and left.
But then she stopped. He was only a kid. In a strange way he reminded her of her son, even though he looked nothing like him. She could speak with him. What was the worst that could happen? She approached him gently and got his attention.
“Please would you mind putting your feet down?”
“What’s your problem?”
“Feel free to disregard what I say. I just wanted to share my perspective with you. The grime under your soles gets transferred on to other people’s clean clothes and children’s hands. It can make people sick. That’s all. Thank you.”
She smiled and backed off. She sat at the seat she had ear-marked for herself, just on the other side, across the width of the coach. From the corner of her eye, she saw both his feet descend to the floor. With a nearly imperceptible smile she continued to pretend to be looking out of the window and he continued to do the same and the world went by…