Stranger on a train.

On the overground from Liverpool Street to Hackney Downs; at Cambridge Heath the carriage is flooded with a large group of school children, 6 or maybe 7 years old, and their teachers. Two girls and a boy take the seats around me and strike up a conversation. They see my suitcase and ask me what country I am from; when I tell them, they ask, “Did it take a very long time to get here?” I tell them I arrived at the airport three days ago and am coming into London from Bristol. They tell me they are just coming from the museum, where they have been to see toys, and a game where you have to remove all of a clown’s hair, and to ride horses and ponies. The teacher standing over us is smiling. At one point, another child from across the carriage calls out to the girl sitting across from me, and she says to the teacher, “Miss, [so-and-so] says we shouldn’t be talking because this lady is a stranger.” Her teacher says, “Well, technically she’s right, but it’s ok.” The girl sitting next to me says, “You’re not a stranger; you’re a nice lady!” I say that we don’t really know each other yet, but it’s nice to meet them. The girl across from me shouts to her friend, “It’s ok, she’s not a stranger, she’s a PERSON!”

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