The Journey; Essay
Eva Darby sighed as she looked out the train window to see the conductor waving his flag, signally that the train was departing, here we go again she thought to herself. She was on a Eurostar train from London to Paris with her two hyperactive sons – Colt, who was three and Paul, who was five and both who absolutely loved trains.
“Mummy, is the train going yet?!” Colt beamed up to his mother,
“Yes, sweetie” She replied tiredly, three more hours of this. That is something she could not normally handle herself but she had been going to visit her father, Pierre. It had been about a year since she had seen him and Eva had decided to take the boys with her.
“Mummy, Grandpère isn’t British is he?” Paul questioned,
“No, darling, he is French.” She replied.
“But why isn’t he British, mummy?” Colt jumped in.
“Because he was born and lived in France all of his life.”
That was all her sons were like: Who? What? Where? When? Why? How? It was enough to drive anyone insane.
Eva pretended to have a nap after taking paracetamol for her headache, but ‘awoke’ when the train arrived at Ashford.
“Mummy! Mummy! More people!” Colt and Paul chanted in unison, their little noses pressed up against the cool glass of the train window – Colt his brother. They had waved non-stop for ten minutes until the train started again; they whooped and cheered as they went through a tunnel. A twenty-something aged man came through their coach,
“Can I sit here please?” He asked Eva
“Yeah, sure, of course”, she babbled whilst taking her bag off the chair beside her and setting it on the table in front of her.
“Hi, I’m Eva”, she introduced herself “and this is my boys Colt and Paul” she pointed to each of them in turn.
“Hello Eva, my name is James” he held his hand out and Eva shook it firmly.
“Where you heading to James?” Eva asked her new acquaintance,
“Same, going to visit ‘mon père’,” she laughed,
“Yeah? Eva, I hope you don’t mind me asking but how old are you?” James blurted out,
“So, how old were you when you had Paul?” He asked curiously, obviously intrigued.
“Well, Paul is 5, so I was 22...” Eva trailed off
“Oh. Where you from?” He quickly changed the subject,
“A little village just outside Ashford”
“What do you do?” It was her turn to ask questions now,
“I’m an engineer – on a business trip actually. What about you?”
“I work in advertising for a small London magazine”
“I hope you don’t mind but I’m going to have a nap. I’m shattered, night shift”
“No problem, you sleep.” Eva said as James plugged in his earphones and closed his eyes.
Eva checked her watch, there was still an hour and three quarters to go, however the boys decided to stop staring at James in confusion and speak again.
“Mummy, what’s night shift?” Paul questioned,
“It’s when a person works all night long”
Colt yawned and climbed across the table to cuddle up in his mother’s arms and Paul yawned.
“You guys want a nap too?”
“Yeah, goodnight Mummy” Paul yawned again, Colt was already snoring lightly, snuggling into his mum while Paul lay down over the two chairs.
Finally, some peace! Eva thought to herself, she took out her iPod and shoved her earphones into her ears and put on her ‘Take That’ playlist, then she took out her book and immersed herself into a romance novel.
After a while, Eva checked her watch, it was two o’clock in the afternoon, and there was still an hour to go, so by the time Pierre met up with them it would be four o’clock because of the hour of time difference. Eva heard ‘Greatest Day’ come on – which was the song she had listened to for the whole week that she was in Paris the last time – and it had her reminiscing her last visit to Paris, which was, in her opinion the most beautiful city in the whole wide world. There were so many things to see; the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame Cathedral, Arc de Triomphe, Champ-Èlysees and the Moulin Rouge, to name a few, all of which she intended to take the boys to see. Maybe she’d send the boys out with Pierre to have some ‘bonding-time’ while she hit the boutiques. The last time she was in Paris she went alone and left Colt and Paul at home with their dad – to whom she is not in a relationship with, however they are good friends – but this time she wanted the boys to meet their Grandpère Pierre.
Colt stirred in his sleep and a few seconds later was wide awake, bright-eyed and beaming into his mother’s face. He clambered out of his mother’s arms and crawled over the table, in the process kicking James in the stomach and squishing Paul, effectively wakening them both.
“Oof! Ok, I’m awake now,” James announced.
“Mummy, are we there yet?” Paul questioned tiredly, rubbing his eyes.
“Almost, darling! Just half an hour to go!” Eva grinned then she turned to James.
“Do you know any French?”
“Bonjour? Not really, I didn’t really listen in school” he laughed,
“As long as you know how to order food, you’ll be fine”
“Okay, how do you ask for a cheese toasty?”
“Puis-je obtenir un fromage grille sil vous plait? Repeat after me...” Eva and James spent about 20 minutes discussing and going over how to order food and drink until they were interrupted,
“We are now approaching Paris; this is the end of our route. Eurostar thanks you for travelling with us and hope to see you again. Thank you”
Throughout the cabin jackets and bags rustled, bags and suitcases bundled down from the shelves and people began chatting, presumably discussing their plans of where to go next.
“Mummy! I don’t want to get off the train, I’m staying here!”
“Me neither Mummy, I’m definitely staying here!” Colt agreed. Eva sighed.
“Yes you are, we’re going to see Grandpère Pierre!”
“Fine” both boys chorused.
The train slowed to a halt and people began filing out of the train,
“Goodbye Eva, maybe see you again someday” James said.
“Yeah, hopefully. Bye! Oh and James?”
“Bienvenue en France!”
“What?” James looked perplexed.
“Welcome to France!”
Eva had Colt in her arms and her suitcase in her free hand and Paul was right beside her with his little ‘Cars’ suitcase.
They headed out into the car park and spotted Pierre standing, leaning against hid red Mini Cooper. He put their suitcases in the boot while Eva buckled Paul and Colt into their car seats. She hugged her Dad.
“Bonjour mon père”
“Bonjour mon chèrie” they got into the car and began catching up – speaking in both English and French.
Pierre put the radio on and Eva put her sunglasses on, enjoying the brilliant warm weather. She took in her surroundings in awe, elle ètait bon d’être de retout, j’adore la France.