Interesting Train Journey!
After a long day in Dublin and a really early start from Cork (6:15am train to Dublin!) I travelled to Killarney for the Hugh O’Flaherty Memorial weekend and the very last leg of the journey was the Mallow to Killarney train .. I had a little work to finish and was looking forward to a quiet spot to finish up what I was doing.
I deliberately walked from carriage to carriage until I found a really empty one, took my seat and fired up my laptop ready to get stuck into a piece of work I needed to finish … blissful peace!
60 seconds later a teenage boy and girl decided to sit on the seats opposite me and the journey quickly changed..
Girl – “I’m not touching that Aran” (I guess about 15 or 16 years old but who knows these days!) She now has her maths homework out in front of her and she seems intent on doing what I am doing despite Aran’s best intentions.
Aran – “Dirty snot rag” (this guy is a typical teenager with headphones on, stereo on full blast and singing along to all the thump, thump, thump songs, really annoying ..)
An older guy comes in having been puffing on a cigarette on the platform, coughing, spluttering and nearly choking – he should have given up the fags at least 40 years ago, they’re killing him.
Girl – “Why do they expect us to do this silly maths stuff, we’ll never use it!”
Girl – “You’re so annoying Aran, I wish you didn’t have a mouth”
Aran – “Yeah, yeah, yeah, (continuing to sing along with whatever he is listening to ..)
Girl – “My friends are teaching me piano and I don’t think it will work out”
At this stage I just can’t concentrate and I’m trying to figure out if they are boyfriend and girlfriend – it looks like he is trying desperately to impress her. She seems to like him but won’t quite admit it.
Aran gets up and walks down the carriage (thank god, a little bit of peace for a few minutes)
The girl continues with her maths homework and I try to make a start on my work.
Aran – the return of the boy .. “Ah Jeezus what ya doin’ boss” (he starts talking deliberately like a traveller), he interrupts the girl continually until she abandons her homework and slaps him on face. He steals her pen and eventually gives it back to her after much histrionics.
Aran – singing “I want to be a bad boy, I want to be a bad boy“
Girl – “shut up will ya, do you ever listen to normal music?”
Aran – now bopping along to the music to add to his already annoying repertoire..
Girl – starts twisting her hair
Aran – takes a phone call, “Hello, where are you? We’re about 20 minutes away, we can go home for a cup of tea, alright.. go on. The sky is cloudy”, and then asks the girl “what are you farting for?”
Girl – “I’m never sitting next to you again, you are the reason they invented Panadol, I’ll have to take out my secret weapon” – starts kicking Aran under the table.
Aran – more singing & flicking god knows what at the girl. “Go on, pick a song ..” starts rapping to whatever he is listening to.
Girl – “Shut up Aran, people are trying to work” (wow, there’s a realisation!)
This goes on and on and on as the train pulls into each of the stops, Rathmore, Farranfore until it eventually pulls into Killarney – thank god!
We all stand up at the same time with our bags and I must admit the curiosity gets the better of me.
“Did you get all of your homework done?” I ask the girl
Girl – “Nah, how could I with that fella”
“Are ye in boarding school in Mallow?” I ask (this was my best guess at their story)
Aran – “No, we’re from Tipperary and we’re going to see our Dad for the weekend”
I start telling them all about Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty and they seem genuinely interested.
Aran – “There’s dad” – they both get excited, give a huge wave to the smiling man on the platform and skip off the train when it finally comes to a stop.
Dad – “How was the journey guys?”
Aran & girl “It was fine dad” as they give him a big hug and start their weekend together.
So, they are brother and sister of separated parents..
When it comes to separation people always say to me that kids are flexible and they can adjust quite easily. As someone who has gone through separation and has seen at close hand how painful it was for my kids I can promise you they are not as flexible as you might think – they are just not that good at expressing how they feel and often get totally lost and forgotten in the crossfire.
Aran and his sister – I hope you had a great weekend with your dad!
Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion Communications