“Hi,” I said, “You needn’t have waited. Have you been here long?”
“You cheeky bugger,” she said, “I’m sorry I woke you up now,” but she was laughing as she turned away.
“I’ll start again,” I said, “Fancy meeting you again. How did you get on at the hospital?”
“They put me through a battery of tests and I have to go back in two days for another appointment with a specialist.”
“Perhaps it’s just to let you know the results,” I said, “It still might not be anything serious.”
When the train doors hissed open we managed to get a seat together again.
Once the train was underway, I asked some more about the tests and she talked me through them. I didn’t say anything, but I was thinking that it didn’t sound like they’d be sending her home from her next visit with a pack of paracetamol.
She looked pale and, from her clenched fists and the way she kept biting her lip I inferred that she was worried.
“I’m being nosey again,” I said, “but what are you going to tell your family?”
“I don’t have any family here,” she said, “My mum’s dead and my dad left us years ago to go God alone knows where.”
“Oops” I said, “Foot in mouth time. Who else will you be going home to or seeing tonight then?”
“Just my empty flat,” she said, “My sister lives in Australia now. She’s a nurse.”
“Boyfriends? Workmates? Neighbours?” I asked.
“You really are a nosy sod, aren’t you?” she said.
“I did warn you, but I’ll shut up if you want some peace and quiet to think.”
She used her fingers to tick-off points: “Boyfriends? – not for months now. Workmates? – none. I’m self-employed as a hairdresser working at clients’ own homes. Neighbours? – none that I talk to. I’m a hermit. I’ll email my sister tonight and set up a Skype call.”
She pouted, pushing out her lower lip. “Lonely little me.”
“Aaaw” I said, “Diddums. Listen, nosey me again. Feel free to tell me to bugger off – or worse – but, if I give you my phone number, will you ring me, text me, whatever – if you feel that you want someone to talk to.”
“Phone you?” she burst out laughing, “I don’t even know your name or anything about you.”
“Well, okay” I said, “Fair point. I’m Robbie Davidson. If you phone me, you can find out as much as you want to know. You’ll also be able to tell me your name, but only if you want to.”
She placed her elbows on the table between us and rested her chin on her splayed hands. She looked at me, jutting her chin out.
“How do I know that you’re not some weirdo trying to groom me?” she asked.
“Well,” I said, “I haven’t asked you for your name or address. I haven’t asked you for your phone number.” I took out one of my business cards and passed it across to her.
“If you phone me, you can block your Caller ID, so you can stay as anonymous as it suits you. I’m just offering a friendly ear.”
Merseyrail is the best way of getting around in Liverpool and surrounding areas, so I’ve included a flavour of that with this shot, taken with my former 24 MP Pentax K3-ii with a 16-85 mm f/3.5-5.6 lens.
The EXIF data were 1/4 secs @f/4.5 and 28mm. The ISO was 100. This shot was tripod mounted but was a compromise. I didn’t want high ISO noise but the available light wasn’t brilliant so I used a fairly wide aperture and sacrificed shutter speed to get a better overall exposure. I wanted to capture the way the train lights illuminated the tiled walls and ceiling but the slow shutter speed led to the train, its movement and it’s destination light being blurred. I didn’t get much chance of a re-take of the following train because the platform staff were unhappy about me taking tripod mounted photos anyway.