I Am Watching You by Teresa Driscoll Read Online (FREE)
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I made a mistake. I know that now.
The only reason I did what I did was what I heard on that train. And I ask you, in all truthfulness – how would you have felt?
Until that moment, I had never considered myself prudish. Or naive. OK, OK, so I had a pretty conventional – some might say sheltered – upbringing but . . . Heavens. Look at me now. I’ve lived a bit. Learned a lot. Pretty average, I would argue, on the Richter scale of moral behaviour, which is why what I heard so shook me.
I thought they were nice girls, you see.
Of course, I really shouldn’t listen in on other people’s conversations. But it’s impossible not to on public transport, don’t you find? So many barking into their mobile phones while everyone else ramps up the volume to compete. To be heard.
On reflection, I would probably not have become so sucked in had my book been better, but to my eternal regret I bought the book for the same reason I bought the magazine with wind turbines on the cover.
I read somewhere that by your forties you are supposed to care more about what you think of others than what they think of you – so why is it I am still waiting for this to kick in?
If you want to buy Hello! magazine, just buy it, Ella. What does it matter what the bored student on the cash desk thinks?
But no. I pick the obscure environmental magazine and the worthy biography, so that by the time the two young men get on with their black plastic bin bags at Exeter, I am bored to my very bones.
A question for you now.
What would you think if you saw two men board a train, each holding a black bin bag – contents unknown? For myself, the mother of a teenage son whose bedroom is subject to a health and safety order, I merely think, Typical. Couldn’t even find a holdall, lads?
They are loud and boisterous, skylarking in the way that so many men in their twenties do – only just making the train, with the plumped-up platform guard blowing his whistle in furious disapproval.
After messing about with the automatic door – open, shut, open, shut – which they inevitably find hilarious beyond the facts, they settle into the seats nearest the luggage racks. But then, apparently spotting the two girls from Cornwall, they glance knowingly at each other and head further down the carriage to the seats directly behind them.
I smile to myself. See, I’m no killjoy. I was young once.
I watch the girls go all quiet and shy, one widening her eyes at her friend – and yes, one of the men is especially striking, like a model or a member of a boy band. And it all reminds me of that very particular feeling in your tummy.