A Story by Pauline Hosie
As my train pulled out of the station, the happy faces of my daughter and sister disappeared from view. Momentarily I held their images in my mind. The beauty of the rising sun drew me into the present, as it caressed the sharp edges of tall buildings, gently nudging the sleepy city into wakefulness. Buildings came briefly into view, and then rushed past as a blur. Within minutes Melbourne became a memory.
A flickering palette of yellows and reds danced through my compartment as the sun exposed more of its potential light. The small brown table situated in front of me beckoned me to write. Not yet … time to enjoy the spectacular morning sun. Totally captivated by the artistry of the sun, the world before my eyes woke to another day. Suburb after suburb painted with sunlight.
An hour into the journey, distant farmhouses, horses and cows waited for shadows to melt into light. A kangaroo watched as the train glided by. Breakfast dishes were being collected when the announcement was made. “There is a tree across the track; we will have to stop at Seymour.” A few passengers muttered in frustration. Ten minutes later we pull into Seymour. Resigned to a short wait, most passengers remain seated. Half an hour later another announcement.
“We apologise for the relay, but removing the tree will take longer than expected. Buses will be organised to take you back to Sydney.” Moans from unhappy passengers, as one by one we file onto the platform. An hour later, disgruntled groups huddle to complain. Further down the platform I notice a small group of people gathered around a lady sitting on a small stool. Deciding to investigate I am amazed to discover the woman is painting two passengers as they chat.
“Are you a professional artist,” I ask? “ Yes. I Am.” the lady replied. “Rather than sit in the carriage, while my son is asleep, I decided to make the most of the stop. It has been a challenging trip. My family and I were booked on a flight back to Brisbane, but my son who has Aspergers Syndrome, refused to catch the plan. Travelling by train was our best option, but changing onto a bus will distress him terribly, he dislikes social interaction. We really need to get back to Brisbane.” She continued, “Our home may be flooded with all the rain we have experienced in Queensland.”
Wow! I thought of all the train passengers this lady has the most reason to be upset by the ongoing delay, yet here she was painting a beautiful picture of two passengers who had made the most of the stop by getting to know each other. So impressed was the elderly women with her portrait that she bought the painting from the Brisbane artist.
The buses appeared at 2PM that meant we would arrive in Sydney after midnight. As I boarded my bus, I noticed the blonde artist beside a tall teenage boy, whose face was shielded by a hood. What an inspiration she was ~ creating a palette of possibilities from what most passengers saw as a nuisance in their life.
photos courtesy Pauline Hosie