Someone asked to borrow someone else’s cell phone. I was grateful they didn’t ask for mine; I would have refused. I stepped outside and called my boss, left him a message indicating I’d be late but didn’t know HOW late. He’s pretty patient, but I hate the idea of pushing his patience. I trudged back inside and slumped onto a bench next to a tall, angular, mousy blond woman who volunteered her phone for the stranger’s use. I convicted myself of being selfish and reclusive.
Another person made a phone call, and the announcement continued repeating over the loudspeaker at regular intervals.
The sound of a conversation carried to me.
“Oh, yeah? Really? Oh man. Okay, thanks.” The elder man hung up his phone and muttered discontent under his breath.
“Didja find out what happened?” The nasal female voice echoed in the station despite the number of bodies.
“Yeah, freight hit a car down at 120,” he spoke with irritation.
My heart fluttered. Someone was hit by a freight train.
“Oh, izzat what happened?”
“Yeah, I guess da train side-swiped a car.”
I almost vomited. I put my head between my knees and prayed. I prayed first that it wasn’t accurate. I prayed second for the person in the car. I prayed for their family last, in the event of the worst case scenario.
“Well, dey jus’ gotta shove it aside, dat’s all. Jus’ push it to da side.”
I’ve noticed the “experts” — at least in my area, and I don’t know what your neck of the woods are like — seem to be the loudest, most verbose in the crowd. They’re seldom soft-spoken. In this case all of them were over age 60. They’d been “experts” for most of that time, I guessed, and probably started as “experts” in sports, graduating to other topics from there over the years.