Saturday, December 3, 2011

Train at 10 pm

That morning was unusually calm; there were not many birds chirping or there was not that morning whiff which was quite usual for that part of England. Kate was not very sure whether she slept longer hours or whether she was still under the influence of Famous Grouse. She got up from her bed and looked through the only window which gave her a view of the winding street. She could see the Rochford Council vehicle moving snow from the near-by parking ground. She thought for a moment about the clearing workers who would have got up very early in that chilly morning to clear that area so that people enjoyed a great day without having to manoeuvre a slippery parking ground. Kate thought that someone whispered into her ear 'Today is that day when you are going to cleanse away the snow of sin from your life'. Kate stood silent for a moment and she felt that time was making a quick rewind; she saw her childhood memories flashing across.

Kate was a lovely girl who was always filled with energy and loads of enthusiasm. Neighbours used to call her a 'bubbly bundle'. At school, Kate was her teachers' pet. She was the best student in the class and was always willing to help other students in their studies. She was very good at music and was a great player in badminton too. Kate lost her father when she was barely 8 years old. Kate's dad always used to say 'I will make my little Barbie doll a great princess when she grow up'. At 14, Kate seemed to be the centre of attraction of Rochford since there was no other girl who was as gorgeous as Kate. Kate's mum Janet worked for the council at their home for the elderly. Janet always worked long hours to get that extra money for giving the best facilities to Kate.

Kate's and Janet's life changed dramatically with the arrival of Obodey into their life. Obodey was an African who migrated to England a few years back and he worked with the council in the same home where Janet worked. Obodey was a very good looking man who was more than six foot tall and he had this beautiful smile which attracted many girls and women to him. He was very kind to the old inmates and they all loved the nights when Obodey had his shift. He seemed to enjoy his part time assignment thoroughly and his colleagues used to watch with admiration the way he told bed time stories to the inmates. Obodey noticed the hard days Janet was having at the care home and he always helped her to relieve the physical strain of carrying the inmates from the bed to the chair. Obodey and Janet worked many late nights together and there was a kind of Chemistry developing between them. Soon Obodey and Janet were seen going out together and Obodey used to visit Janet and Kate. Kate did not like this dark African block coming to her house and her mum's night outs with him. But soon Kate found that there was something quite special about this guy. 'I think he is a very nice person mum', Kate told her mum 'and you are quite lucky to have met him in your life'. Janet just smiled at her daughter and was looking at the bills that are due for payment that month. Kate slowly could identify her dad's face in Obodey and she started loving him as if he was really her daddy whom she lost when she was just 8.

Some days Janet had different shifts and Obodey came home and spend time with Kate. Kate slowly felt that her life was undergoing a major transformation. She asked herself whether he is just a fatherly figure or was he someone beyond all that she could think.

Their life underwent a dramatic shift on that fateful evening. Obodey was ironing Kate's dress for Monday and Kate was watching the telly. Suddenly there was a huge pandemonium outside their house. Obodey looked through the window and saw two African guys trying to rob and stab their English neighbour. Obodey opened the door and went down the stairs onto the street and while coming down the stairs he asked Kate to lock the door and stay indoors. She could hear so much commotion on the street and suddenly Kate heard someone screaming very loudly and it seemed the person was stabbed. Kate peeped through the window to catch a glimpse of the events and she had the shock of her life. She saw Obodey getting kicked and stabbed repeatedly and by the two youths and poor Obodey was protecting the English boy from getting hurt. Kkate cried louldy on top of her voice and went down the stairs onto the street. She asked for help and asked someone to call the ambulance; no one came out of their homes and her cries were mimicked by the foxes in the distant park. Kate took Obodey's head on her lap and tried to prevent bleeding from the stab wounds. Obodey's voice became feeble and she knew that this valuable part of her life is heading towards an end. Obodey took Kate's one hand and pushed her ear towards him slowly and uttered in broken voice , ' Oh my poor unlucky girl....why did the Almighty want you to be without a dad always.....God bless you ma too joining your daddy where ever he is ....'

'Today is the first anniversary of Obodey's death, the anniversary of that day when God gave me a double blow', Kate said to herself. Obodey's death had a deep impact on Kate's life and she started losing faith in God. She roamed aimlessly in the streets and picked up very bad company and have started using drugs. She fought with her mum for the money to buy drugs and if she did not get money from mum, she went for "quickies" to the dark corners of the street just to make that 10 or 20 pounds. Janet was totally shattered with Obodey's death and her daughter's weird ways. Last week Kate received a letter from Maria, wife of Obodey. The letter said that Maria will visit them on Obodey's first death anniversary. Maria is coming all the way from Zambia to offer prayers at the spot where Obodey was killed. Kate decided that she would be a very good girl at least for this day while remembering her second daddy whom she lost. The whole day she spend time collecting used clothes for the charity British Heart Foundation, Walthamstow.

Maria was expected to come by the 10 o clock train. Kate went to the station at 8pm itself and she was so much looking forward to meet Maria. At the station she felt that time was not at all moving and just walked across the length and breadth of the station. By 9:45, the display was up for the London Liverpool Street to Southend On Sea train. At 10pm the Southend on Sea bound train slowly pulled into the station and she was looking for that African face that would emerge from this last train. No one alighted from the train and there were 1 or 2 passengers who boarded. The train was about to leave and she thought maria would not have come. Suddenly she saw an African lady slowly getting down onto the platform. Her face showed that she was totally exhausted from a long and tiring journey. The train slowly started moving and this young African lady in her mid twenties stood there gazing at the train as if the train left here there all alone. Something struck Kate and that was this little boy in Maria's arms. Kate rushed towards Maria and before anything Maria could say, she took the boy in her arms and kissed on both the cheeks. Kate noticed that the boy was a miniature of Obodey who was the light of her life for many years. In the distance Kate could still hear the honking horn of the 10 0' clock train...the train towards Southend On Sea