It was a bright late Summer afternoon.
The face opposite me had the face of a woman eighty years old, drawn, gaunt and exhausted from her daily travels, an over sized black bag perched precariously on her lap but repeatedly threatening to fall as she dozed in and out of troubled sleep on my lazy Saturday commuter train.
The late summer sun streamed in from the eastern side windows, forcing her to push eyelids even closer together as she tried to snatch a few moments rest, the train stopping and starting with steady regularity acting like an irritating alarm clock every five minutes or so.
This person was only young girl, perhaps no older than eleven, dressed in a neatly pressed school outfit that clashed with the casual clothes of all around her. Instead of seeing someone in the prime of youth she possessed the body language of a person much older. A person fed up with life and the pressures it contains. The bag, stuffed to the brim with text books and study materials sat uncomfortably on her lap as she dozed, her body falling forwards time and time again, and as she roused herself so as not to fall the grimace on her face deepened.
Weariness pervaded her every thought. She wore the face of a defeated person, one who would gladly giver herself up for another existence, anywhere but this.
While those around her rested in their weekend adventures, some holding bags of recently bought goods and specialties, she in turn clutched the straps of her heavy bag tighter and tighter, her eyes trying to resist the sunlight that streamed in incessantly.
Where was she off to? Back home to another session of study, only to fall asleep with half studied books open or a half eaten meal, only to repeat the process the next day? I shuddered to think, hoping that this gaunt expression of child with most of her life ahead of her would find some kind of escape from the pressures her parents and society had placed upon her.
The sun continued to stream fearlessly through the window, for it was Saturday afternoon….