Waiting for a train, I casually find a seat among strangers. The bench is hard and the still afternoon air is warm and stifling. I am strangely content even as a bead of sweat makes its way down my neck and between my breasts.
I notice a young woman looking at me slightly curiously. She hauls her luggage behind her as she walks towards me and sits down on the bench next to me in a casual sort of way as if we knew each other. Smiling, she asks me, “how far along are you?” I answer politely that I have a few more weeks to go. She asks if I know what I am having and I tell her that it is a Boy. “I had a boy”, she states in a reminiscent tone that held both sadness and a sense of wonderment as if that time in her life had been a dream that she was momentarily revisiting. Her eyes sparkled with an inviting pleasantness, an uncommon trait amongst strangers met on train platforms.
We continue our friendly conversation about baby clothes, the strange still heat of the day, summer scarves and the likelihood of the train arriving on time. It doesn’t of course and our conversation loses momentum, becoming a staggered repetition of head nods and polite smiles.
The train pulls into the station and we rise from the bench, her with ease and I with a slow deliberate heave. As she gathers her luggage and we make our way towards the train she says to me, “I just have to tell you that you are beautiful, a truly glowing woman. You look like you are at peace. Are you? Are you at peace?”
“Yes, I am at peace, very much so.”