“Oi have a puppy, but he’s not a re-al one, he’s in me bag,” the little blonde girl with the beginning to unravel pigtails shouted across from the platform across the track at our little railway station.
Her flat Dublin city tones, cute high-pitched voice and zest sparked something in us bleary-eyed souls as we waited for the morning train into the capital city.
Wearing a well-worn soft pink rain-jacket with Disney princesses on it and leggings of an approximately matching shade, and leaning against one of the dark grey pillars supporting the scalloped canopy of the platform roof, she was pointing towards the little soft pink pull-along case her bashful Dad was holding about 10 yards to her left.
“He is, isn’t he, Da?”
An impossibly young guy, hardly out of his teens, nodded, smiling, sucking in hard on a roll-up as thin as himself. A pink princess pull-along suitcase in one hand and hard chaw cheroot in the other; his own brand of cool.
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 expensively dressed little boy, with his perfect navy blue jacket buttoned 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 curt curtailment of his efforts to drift away from their spot just inside the yellow line and explore.
Our train was due 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, who answered her with a crinkled smile of his eyes, before responding:
“That’s a great name … and you are?”
“Clare … what’s yer boy’s name?”
“Samuel … but we call him Sam”.
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 telling 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, you and Sam?”
“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 de North, and I’ve havin’ a sleepover.
“She said she will let me stay with her for a whole week the next time!”
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