I don’t usually see her on the way home.
Possibly because I don’t always go home at the same time, often staying later, adding an extra hour to my flexi-time so that I can finish early on a Friday.
But more likely because she leaves university well before I finish work.
Today, it’s Friday and I’m early, the train is full of students when it arrives at Glasgow Central low-level, probably half way through it’s journey from Milngavie or Helensburgh, passing through the West End and picking up students from Glasgow University along the way.
Most of the students switch here to carry on their journeys to other parts of the city, but she’s the only person sitting at the small 4 seat booth.
She is very pretty. She looks almost Scandinavian, delicate features, high cheek-bones, bright blue eyes and shoulder length blonde hair. A slightly older version of my own daughter or a younger Debra Unger.
Her face is slim and usually pale, but is slightly tanned with the summer sun that has blessed Glasgow over the past few weeks.
As I sit, she looks up from her mobile, briefly smiles, then turns her head to look out the window, not that there is anything to see with the wall of the tunnel right outside, but conformity demands that eye contact is avoided.
I smile and check my phone, not that there is any signal in this underground station, but just in case I missed a message on the way. Nothing!
I close over the cover and look down the carriage, noticing Rock-Couple a few rows ahead, it would be hard to miss those straggly grey and metallic burgundy pony-tails even from behind, She is leaning against his shoulder and as far as I can tell they aren’t saying much but they look happy.
Certainly much happier than the last time I saw them!
At Argyll Street, a couple of older ladies board, arms full of shopping and full of chat. They are obviously very good friends, very warm with each other but don’t look like sisters. A couple of grand-dames, comfortable with life and enjoying a day out together, good for them.
I briefly think of my mum and my auntie Maureen on their shopping trips in Glasgow and hope that they had just as much fun. I have no doubts they did.
The ladies are looking for the closest place to sit and there are 2 seats free in the 4-seat booth. I move over directly facing young Debra, allowing the ladies to sit down with their bags without breaking their conversation except for the slightest of nods.
A few minutes later we are at Bridgeton, back in the sunshine and my mobile pings, its my daughter “Dad, what are we having for dinner tonight, x”
“Anything you fancy baby, I’m meeting Stephen for a curry later, so I can either make you dinner or I can take you for a Chinese take-away on the way to your mums? Dad x”
“Macdonalds please? X”
It pains me that my daughter enjoys that crap, but what’s a dad to do?
“No problem honey, anything you want, see you soon, Dad x”
I’m slightly annoyed with myself that I pander to this, I know its small stuff in the big scheme of things and it doesn’t happen very often, but with the hostility I usually get from my ex because Claire chooses to live with me, I like keeping my girl on side.
Young Debra’s phone pings too, she still has it in her hand opens the message.
Then the strangest thing happens, her eyes seem to glaze over and she shifts uncomfortably in her seat. It’s as if she wants to get up and run.
A tear runs down her face, a big large round tear, streaming down her cheek, quickly followed by another, she pushes them back with a finger and tries to sniff them away as she turns her head to face the window.
I’ve no idea what the text contains, but it must have been serious. I can’t imagine that it was anything serious like a death in the family, who would send that by text?
I imagine that this beautiful young woman has been dumped by text, dumped by some heartless unfeeling inconsiderate prick that didn’t deserve her in the first place.
My paternal instincts make me want to wrap an arm around her and tell her that he’s not worth it and that there are plenty more fish in the sea, but I can’t, I sit there and try not to make eye contact.
Fortunately as I look to the side, I notice that both of the ladies have spotted her crying to. The lady beside me reaches into her handbag and passes Debra a few tissues, which she accepts and turns to face the window sobbing quietly.
A few minutes later the train arrives at Cambuslang the Rock-Couple are already standing and the ladies and I join them at the exit. I know this is Debra’s stop, but she waits, obviously taking some time to compose herself.
As we walk up the ramp, the lady beside me says “Such a beautiful girl, I hope it was nothing serious”
I nod in acknowledgement saying “I don’t imagine it’s too serious via text”.
“Probably been dumped by her boyfriend, the poor wee thing” she replies.
As we reach the top of the ramp, the Rock-Couple stop dead in their tracks, almost blocking the passageway and forcing people to push around them.
The blonde woman standing at the entrance to the station looks absolutely livid.