Yesterday, I called my younger sister after a couple of meetings in London. We were meeting for dinner near her home in south London and needed to agree time and place for the rendezvous. When we were younger and on holiday, we were forced by mum to share a bed, which we complained and moaned about. I have memories of sharing a bed, in a hotel room, on New Years Eve, her full of cold and snot and me thinking this was some evil revenge my mum had concocted. She may be 28 in human years, but in sister years she will always be 13. However, I don't complain about sharing a bed with her now, when it means I get to spend an (affordable) evening in her company.
As I sat on the tube with laptop bag, overnight wheelie bag and large handbag (wondering, maybe this is why I'm suffering such back pain at the moment) I breathed a sigh of relief that I had a seat and space for the bags. Then the tube stopped and an announcement came to change trains for onward journeys. The woman opposite me, raised her eyebrows and gave a grimace. Bloody Northern Line, I muttered, and raced with the hoardes across a platform to join another train that would travel to Clapham North.
My heart sank as I stumbled with my bags, tripping and rushing down the platform for a carriage that looked like there was squeezable space. The train had already been full and now another tube full of people were trying to leverage themselves in. I continued down the platform, glancing at the forms of bodies, waiting for the warning that the doors were going to close, before I threw myself into the closest carriage. There was little space but I just got myself, laptop bag and wheelie bag in as the doors closed behind me. Sadly, my rather large handbag wasn't so fortunate and was trapped between the doors, that were desperately trying to close.
I grabbed at the bag, pulling, my temperature rising as I was overheating in layers of jumpers, coat and embarassment. The girl next to me tried to pull the doors apart, to give me the required gap to rescue the bag. Finally, the warning sound ringing in my ears, the doors reopened and I pulled the bag quickly in.
At this point, I glanced up to say thankyou to my neighbour who was wiping black grease from her fingers.
A quick automatic kiss on the cheek, gratitude and slow recognition, that the other half of the partnership in 'Mission Bag Rescue', was rooted in a longer history. It was my sister.