QA 23. (May 10) The man on the train

Friday afternoon I board a train at False Bay. The carriage is quite full and a man gestures me to the empty seat beside him. I smile and shake my head. I’m happy to stand. “Why? Tell me why?” It’s almost a demand. I shrug, “I’ve been sitting all day and my bum is sore.” He cocks his head like a small bird, taking my measure. I return the favour. A small coloured man in his 60s, stubbly, toothless, wearing a crumpled corduroy jacket and a knit cap. He could be a drunk, but his eyes are bright in a face as mobile and sly as a child’s.

He pulls half a peeled orange from his pocket, its pith ratty with lint, and holds it up to me. Read more