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  • You never think you would be involved.

    I never thought I'd be the one sitting there when she decided to jump.

    Is it really a cowardly act or do you have to be really brave and resolute to end it all?

    At 08.50 my train suddenly jolted to a stop just as it cleared Wimbledon station. In the height of rush hour, the train was heaving and somehow we all just knew. The random whispers started to circulate the carriage and twitter revealed the gruesome reality. The guard quickly announced that we had indeed collided with a person.

    The train fell silent. Usually the public outcry is that of annoyance. Why can't you top yourself at home? Drink some pills, hang yourself. Why do you selfishly have to do it during rush hour? It's too late to draw a reaction that you can witness. It's too late for anyone to care, to save you. You will never know you will be missed. You jumped in front of children.....you've damaged those who saw.

    No one became annoyed.

    The driver was transparent from the onset and kept reassuring us of the course of action and support at hand.

    The worst part of the ordeal was not the thought of the now deceased, but when they shut the power down. The lights went and the air conditioning too. I am claustrophobic and the silence that ensued after such, was tumultuous. My chest felt like a caged dove and I had to close my eyes.

    Close your eyes.

    The heat.

    I can't breathe.

    I forced myself to think of sleeping in my Dad's house, the heat of the Caribbean, the breeze through the louvres, the breeze......the breeze? There's no breeze. This is not real, this is not my room, this is not the hot Caribbean. My eyes fluttered as I addressed my reality once more. I needed to find another mental escape. There is no warm breeze here. If anyone falters around me, I too will fail.

    I closed my eyes again. No one around me lost control. I was the only one trying my utmost to pretend I was coping.

    My mind went back; this time to Aruba.

    "I'm not going down there, Marc."

    "Come on, you can do it. They say it's a small cave!"

    The American couple looked up at us from the mouth of the heart entrance. "We've got an old man here who will guide us. Come with us. We've got a torch."

    And so we followed. In one of the chambers there was the Virgin Mary carved into the natural rock formation. I was fascinated when our torch shone on Indian paintings dating back to even 500BC.

    Sometimes one needs to trod in the dark to discover there is light.

    "Let's keep up with the others, Anne." Marc whispered.

    The cave continued, but to my horror, it narrowed. It narrowed so much, we had to crouch. I am a small woman and for I to crouch, panicked me. The American lady said alarmingly, "I don't feel good about this. I don't feel good about this!"

    Just then, a colony of bats swooped down and though I am not afraid of bats, the narrow way ahead made me light-headed.

    "I want to go back! I need to go back! Marc, let's go back!"

    "Honey, you're doing great. I'm right behind you."

    "It's actually safer to continue forward." The guide added. "It's a longer way back than what we have left, to go."

    I crawled through, hanging onto the knowledge that my husband was behind to save me.

    I saw the light and it enveloped me. I had covered 300 feet.

    *******************************************************************************************

    I opened my eyes and my heart had tempered. I knew my mental state was no longer compromised.

    The lady next to me had been talking and although I responded with grunts and eye contact, she was never my focus.

    Two policemen walked past our window and when they stopped, looked under our carriage and stared straight at me with stone set in their eyes, I knew they had recovered part of her. It seemed impossible because I was in approximately the fifth car down. The lady next to me, comprehending the same, fell sick.

    We finally moved after an hour and ten minutes. The paramedics were up and down the train, the guard constantly updated us and the pregnant lady a few seats down, needed medical attention. It was so hot. Bottles of water were passed through the carriages and there were even bursts of laughter intermittently.

    People had to cope.

    The power resumed and we moved forward. We stopped at Earlsfield where there were ambulances waiting for us, those who ironically had not jumped but were in dire need of medical and psychological help.

    Only a few alighted and we remained until Clapham Junction where our train was taken out of service.

    Stepping off the train was like stepping onto new terrain, both literally and metaphorically.

    I trembled and fought the tears.

    I did not think I would be affected like that.....

    but I was.
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