‘I wanted to get into the head of an evacuee, did she have any idea what was happening?’
She told me it was an adventure, no fussing, and a surprise would be in the bag. No peeking. On the platform though, I smelled a rat. It was all sobbing and twitching. Kissing my forehead. Wet tears. Hair getting unusual attention, rough hands smoothing the stray bits. “Pretty girl be good”. The mothers, all hugging, wailing, looped arms walked away and left us.
A bossy woman shouted “stand still” some boys, larking. I never moved, honest. Well just a shuffle. It was awkward see. Our privy was shared with three. We had two busses what got us here and no time for, natures calling.
They had clipboards with pencils on string and smiles. It takes a lot of smiles to get hundreds of children on a train. A few was crying up a commotion, other like me waited quiet. Listening. Not much to hear though. The smilers just read our labels, moved us into group and after ages with me bare knees knocking, we got on the train.
Pushing and shoving seemed to be the order of things, especially with the boys and bigger girls. I was a small un. I ducked under and through the legs. Still bit tricky with this box. First time on a train and a window seat, not bad. Smiled to myself till a big girl sat beside me eyeing my draw string bag.
A loud toot and movement. Big scramble to the window, waving and hollering. I got crushed by the big uns and made sure to keep tight hold of my bag not wanting my surprise to go wandering. There was talk in the carriage seemed most had a surprise. For five minutes it turned into a moving picnic. Jam tarts, chocolate mice, boiled sweets swallowed, swapped or sucked. The big girl next to me had dirty fingers clenched into fists, no bag and no treat. I delayed opening and got busy watching the views. Before I knew it, the gobbling and chewing had finished. It didn’t feel right to go fishing for treats now.
Ages it was. Same trees and fields and more trees and fields, sometimes old houses. There was a church in the distance and the train started to slow. When the train stopped a lot of um got up. The big lass, one of um. She was cunning and tried to grab my bag. I never let my grip drop not the whole journey. Right then the bossy woman saved the day came into our carriage, like a sedative. All went quiet and she let go.
Felt sad for her, share, yes but that type just take and thump, so no. We got off the train and stood on the platform. There was a lot of muttering, tables and grownups.
I never been on a day out before. I looked passed the end of the train down the track wondering how it might turn around to take us back.