Meena was all sunshine today. Her father had written to her, he had written that he would come see her tomorrow. He will be coming in the evening train, one of the handful of trains that had a stop in their rural land. She was smiling, life was colourful, there was nothing she could want for.
It was the only train of the day. It was due at 4 pm. It was now 4:18. The station master had told her that the train was 20 minutes late. She couldn't wait. There was a whistle of a train far away and her heart jumped up. She was grinning. There, there it was, slowly and grumpily making its way through the golden fields. She stood up. She was the only person waiting on the platform. 4:19. The train finally slid into the station and came to a stop. A two minute stop. She felt her heart would burst. Expectation soared. 4:20. She glanced nervously around. There was still time. Anxiety slowly made its poisonous way into that palpitating organ. 4:21. The train whistled. Her eyes were wide, frantic, hopeful, ever hopeful. 4:22. The station master pulled out the green flag and the train started moving.
Disappointment coursed and crashed into her. She thought her heart would break. She clutched her chest and backed away. Not again, no. But he promised, the thought was involuntary. Just like the promises made before, and then broken. Naive, that's what she was. She stared blankly at the train in the distance. The light of hope was gone. Gone off a face far too young to know what its like to live without that light.The station master spared a glance filled with pity at her and moved back into his cabin. She sat there, staring at nothing for a long time. There was pain. Silent tears rolled off her cheeks.
6:55. Shoulders squared, she rose, resolve made. Never again, she promised herself. And then with her head held high, she made her way back home alone.