As I hang on to a rod in the over-crowded Ladies Second Class compartment, I realise that I have turned into a ball of hate.
I hate…. the crowd. All these people packed like sardines in a tin.
I hate…. the fact that my nose is stuck in someone’s stinky arm-pit.
I hate…. that the woman next to me hasn’t used deodorant, even though this is the hottest summer of the century.
I hate…. that people are so frustrated, that even asking someone to move their handbag out of your face, might earn you a punch in the nose, or worse.
I hate…. that at the age of 50, I have to travel like this, every single day, just to earn my daily bread.
I hate…. that my husband decided to leave me in the final months of my pregnancy, without a penny to my name.
I hate…. that I sleep on the floor, because the ceiling leaks, right over my bed, and the bed is too heavy to move by myself.
I hate…. that after all these years, and all the betrayal, the memory of my ex-husband and I buying that bed, still makes me cry.
I hate…. that my son, who I raised without any support, has always been fascinated with his father’s second family.
I hate…. that the very same son, who promised me that he would always take care of me, moved out of my house, as soon as he could.
I hate…. that he hasn’t called me in a month.
I hate…. that I miss him so much, when he doesn’t seem to miss me.
I hate…. that there is a lump in my breast, and I have to go for biopsy all by myself, because my son hasn’t answered my calls.
I hate…. that after all the hardships that life put me through, I was still gullible enough to hope for a happier old age.
I hate…. that I can’t even stand in peace, without someone pulling my hair!
I turn…. to see a shabbily dressed woman standing behind me, holding a fat baby. The baby is looking around happily, and waving his chubby hands. He makes eye contact with me, and grins, and babbles something.
As I’m looking at his innocent baby grin, something happens to me.
The ball of hate starts to melt, and I feel something that I haven’t felt for a long time. I feel hopeful again, and optimistic.
I run my hand gently over the baby’s face, and he laughs. His laugh is so exhilarating.
I turn around with a smile on my usually-dour face. If my lump turns out to be cancer, I will face it. I don’t need anyone else to make me strong. I am strong enough to face life, all on my own. Still, I won’t lose faith in my son. I raised him, after all. I will have faith in my upbringing.
As I get off the train, I decide to treat myself to a slice of cake, something I haven’t eaten in years, and never without sharing with my son. I walk home, and I remember the good times that we shared. Life doesn’t seem so dark anymore.
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” – Martin Luther King Jr