Friday 12 October 2012

'Train' by Jenna Brown

Today on the train, I watched an old man have a stroke.
No one pulled the emergency alarm.
I don’t think his wife noticed. She seemed to be concentrating on reading Page 3 of The Sun.
Maybe it was that kind of marriage.
I didn’t stand up. I didn’t walk over. I did nothing.
In fact, the truth is I didn’t even watch. I said I watched. That was a lie. Instead, I turned away.
I saw it start. I saw his head dip low and the muscles in his face jerk. It was fast, and violent. Then I turned away.
I turned away.
Out of embarrassment.  For myself. For my youth, for my inexperience. I said a silent Thank You to the powers of the universe. Thank You. Thank you for not making me old. Not yet.  Please God don’t ever make me grow up and grow old.
I played Bejeweled on my phone. While an old man had a stroke on a busy commuter train.
I don’t deserve pity, and I’m not asking for it either. I’m just asking for your understanding. For your forgiveness? I don’t know.


  1. Jenna

    Great story! The set up is vivid and has an urgent staccato rhythm to it.

  2. Also...

    I am a first aid trainer for the British Red Cross. One of the big issues is that even after training people sometimes don't act. Psychologists call it 'the bystander effect' Part of your story illustrates this perfectly.
    Would you be happy for me to read it to my classes? You would always be credited as author.
    If you are OK with this, either send me a tweet @nickjohns999 or post a reply comment either here or on my story 'Soul Music' due to appear on Flash Flood some time today.


  3. Hi Nick

    Thanks very much.

    Of course, yes, you can read my story to your classes.


  4. A powerful story in so few words - you can really feel her angst and inner turmoil at not knowing what to do.
    Some stories just grab you and won't let go - this was one of those stories!


2024 Wigleaf Longlisting

Huge congratulations to Lisa Alletson whose 2024 FlashFlood piece, ' Translucent ' made the Wigleaf Top 50 longlist! You can read th...