To the Train Station

by Christine Tongue

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It’s all coming back to me. Over me. I don’t even know where it all began. Those days are long darkened by a mist that, most times, I don’t even know exists. I want to go back to the time before. I have to capture the pieces, and put them all back together again. Where did it all begin? Maybe it began before I even existed, or maybe it began when I was two. I was two and my mum took me for a walk in the pram.

Imagine a house in a small countryside village set aside from the motorway to the main town of the province. A two-floor house with a basement and a garden at the back with a strawberry patch.  A house along a road aligned with other identical houses. And behind the left row of houses a vast stretch of green field. This is where my parents lived. This is the house where I lived.

It was a Tuesday and my father had retired to his office in the basement for another day’s work. My mother knocks on his door at eleven o’clock and serves his eleven o’clock tea and cake, just as she always does. The fact that my mother has dressed in triple underwear that day, my father does not know. Nor the fact that she’s dressed with double clothing. Everything looks just like it always does. The fact that she is preparing to take me for a walk in the park just after eleven o’clock is also as usual. And that my favourite teddy is left sitting on my bed. 

There she goes on her normal route at the back of the house towards the park with me in my pram. Not that my father is able to see her at this point. Nor does he see us when her route diverges and she heads for the train station. Now with an increased momentum. My father is unaware and my mother thinks she is making the best decision in her life.

He is still unaware as she boards the 11:45 train with me in the pram, destined for freedom. He would never have guessed.  To the city, to stay with her sister, temporarily, until she gets a job and her own flat. My mother has planned everything in detail. She’s also planned to call my father when she is safe and tell him that she’ll never come back. That everything has reached a certain point, and that it’s over. She’s not prepared that he will forever after claim that she kidnapped his daughter.

Of course, I was only two, so I couldn’t honestly say how it was. I can only put the pieces together. My mother’s, my father’s.  But deep in the very marrow of my body, this day is embedded in me. Not the words spoken nor the actions, but the emotion as my mother boards the train, and the emotion as my father puts the phone down.

Christine Tongue was born Anglo-Swedish. She holds an MA in English Literature and works as a freelance copywriter. Her work has been published in The Lounge Companion: A Collection of European Creative Writing   by Lion Lounge Press .

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