It was about 10.30pm, and I was on a train and in my third hour of a journey home from London.
Somewhere on the opposite side of the carriage and a couple of seats behind mine were sitting a young mother and her little boy – who was at a guess around two years old.
For most of the journey the pair were babbling away to each other in that way that mothers and toddlers do. Then we reached a station a couple of stops away from my own (and a couple more still away from theirs), and as the train slowed to a halt the boy got ridiculously excited, jumping up and down screaming ‘Are we there are we there are we there? Mummy, are we there???’
No, mummy explained, no we’re not there yet. This is Thorne, we’ve got about 45 minutes to go…
and so (even though I’m pretty sure this kid was far too young to understand ’45 minutes’) he began to cry. Loudly. Wailing and sobbing as if the most tragic thing in the world, ever, had just happened to him.
(At this point the teenage boy sitting in front of and opposite to me, with whom I’d looked up from my book to make brief eye contact, shared a smirk with me before mumbling something which might have been ‘oh god, please no’).
After about 30 seconds of the mournful hysterics the mother put us all out of our misery/mild irritation;
“Oh… Stop Pretending To Cry!”
And so he did. Instantly. And remained silent for the next thirty seconds before starting up all over again.
Maybe you had to be there, but I had to giggle.