“Oi have a puppy, but he’s not a re-al one, he’s in me bag,” announced the little blonde girl with the beginning to unravel pigtails from the other side of the track at the railway station. Her flat Dublin tones, cute high-pitched voice and natural zest immediately engaged.
Wearing a soft pink rain-jacket with Disney princesses on it and leggings of an approximately matching pink, and leaning against one of the dark grey pillars supporting the scalloped canopy of the platform roof, she was pointing towards the little pull-along her smiling young dad was holding about 10 yards to her left. He was smoking a roll-up.
There must have been 20 of us on our side, but the girl, who looked and sounded about five, only had eyes for the slim dark-skinned lady in the olive-green waxed jacket and matching fisherman’s hat pulled down against the drizzling rain, and her neatly dressed little boy, with his neat navy blue jacket buttened all the way up.
The tousle-haired boy with the big dark eyes looked similar in age to the Disney princess from the other side of the tracks.
I had noticed the woman and her boy, and her whispered curtailment of his efforts to drift away from their spot just inside the yellow line and explore. Our train was due in in seven minutes.
This serious-looking woman, tall, slim and maybe in her late thirties, could not ignore the cherubic charms of the Disney princess.
“What’s his name?” she asked with convincing interest.
The girl looked to her dad before responding:
“That’s a great name … and you are?”
“Clare … what’s yer boy’s name?”
Sam had taken this exchange as his cue to sidle away and he was now wagging his well-shod foot over and back in a shallow puddle.
“Don’t do that, Sam,” she admonished. And he did slow down the foot movement. A little.
Clare was now standing on the large square block at the base of the pillar, her arms wrapped around it.
“I can stand on this.”
She was looking at Sam, who moved across to the nearest pillar on his side and now mirrored Clare’s position.
“So can I,” he said, with what sounded a little like disdain.
Soon they were gesturing and shape-throwing across at each other, each coming up with more and more elaborate poses, hoping to best the other. And laughing, both laughing. Brightening a drab suburban morning.
Then the singing started, Sam responding to her “na, na, na, na” with a louder version. She went higher, and soon they were both shouting it out now, and giggling so hard.
“When’s our train coming, da?” Princess Clare suddenly called out.
“In two minutes, love, they’ll make the announcement very soon.”
She moved to get her hold-all, shouting across as she did so:
“Where are youze goin’ to now?”
“We are going to the zoo”
“Brilliant! I was there once with me da, wasn’t I, da?”
The announcement blared on their side.
“Here it comes!” squealed our princess.
“I’m goin’ to see me ma up da north, and I’ve havin’ a sleepover.
“She said she will let me stay with her for a whole week the next time!”