I am now at the age where I find the loveliness of teenage girls almost unbearable. I have to look away from them on trains because if I did look at them, I’d stare and stare and stare and it would all be very creepy indeed.
They are so young, and so beautiful, and they cover up skin that’s clearer than snow with claggy make-up because they have no idea how beautiful they are, or how soon they will stop being young. And they are still beautiful despite the claggy make-up, and the ill-judged and unbalanced clothes, and their dreadful garish accessories.
Hark at me, as if I know how to choose clothes and accessories. And I didn’t when I was young, either, but I bet I was beautiful then and I had absolutely no idea.
And you too.
And the old lady sitting across the aisle, fidgeting with her walking stick and her handbag. So many summers ago, she was sitting on the train with her sisters, comparing the cheap trinkets they’d bought in town on a Saturday as the train sped them all into the here and now.
There are so many layers of poignance right there on the train.