Today was just too awful. I don’t even want to write about it. But, on a more positive note, here are a couple of examples of those little moments that make life worthwhile.
The events of the day resulted in a terrible panic attack. The kind of “unable to breathe” type with arm pains that made me unable to use my hands. When I thought I was better, I set off to the station. But my head clearly wasn’t right. I got on the wrong train, then another wrong train and ended up spending an hour and a half lost on the tube. When I got to the station I couldn’t find the train and there was no one to ask. I cried on the platform, knowing it was the last train for a few hours as I only had an off peak ticket. I didn’t make it. I couldn’t stop crying and went to buy tissues. In the harsh light of the shop, I breathed in and kept my head down. But my nose was so runny and I kept sniffing, my eyes red rimmed. I bought tissues from the shop assistant. He asked me how I felt. I told him, Not very well. He asked if I had a cold. I nodded. He told me I should look after myself, get some rest and that it would soon be Christmas. He gave me my change, patted my hand and told me to look after myself, that it was the weekend and to relax. This guy in a shop, probably paid a crappy wage, had the humanity to be really kind to this red-eyed woman buying tissues.
Then I got on a different train, going near to where I needed to be. I didn’t know if I my off peak ticket would work. But I got on and hoped for the best. When the ticket collector came through the carriage, he looked at my ticket. It was not valid. He offered to upgrade me, but the reality is I knew, this side of Christmas, I didn’t have enough money . He told me to get off the train at the next station and wait 2.5 hours for the earliest off peak train. I didn’t argue. He was just doing his job. Before we arrived I went to the loo. I sat and cried, I wondered how many tears we have inside of us. Surely there is a limit to how much we can cry? But I left the toilet as the train slowed down to the next station. I waited to pull into the station. The guard appeared. I presumed he’d come to make sure I was getting off and hadn’t hidden in the loo. He stopped and whispered, “Just go and sit down in the next carriage” and then moved off.
There were points today when I felt: This is too much. I have had enough. I want to lie down and the world to stop. I know that I would have carried on. But those small kindnesses, those day to day acts of taking an interest in a stranger, taking pity on someone having a hard time, changed the landscape of the day for me. And every day that could be one of us, just doing our job, taking the time to stop and smile at someone or ask them how they are. All these people moving around us every day, are people like you and me, dealing with our day to day struggles. And just a smile or a small kindness could make all the difference