It didn’t seem likely that a red-haired girl complete with raspberries would have any sort of influence on my day.
As it was, my mind was focused on the day ahead, another wrestle with the Lower Year Nine’s, the program was calling for a lesson on the use of rhetoric, which in my opinion was way over their heads and of little value to their lives which for the most part would be served either in goal or on the streets.
The girl entered the train and made her way down the aisle, took the seat next to me and looked exhausted. She was dressed, quite stunningly, in a bright red dress, her pale skin accentuated against the colours she wore.
She breathed out, looked from the window and gave me a polite smile. In her lap was a basket of raspberries.
She didn’t say anything but hummed as the train moved off. She took a raspberry from her basket and popped it into her mouth. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see she was savouring the flavour.
My trip to school was usually uneventful, and this girl was far more interesting than any thought of the Lower Year Nines.
“Want one?” she asked as we pulled up at a station. She moved the basket towards me, and I accepted a raspberry, giving her my thanks.
“I had a big night; the raspberries are payment for services rendered.” This was said with an air of derision, and I suspected it hadn’t been a night to remember.
“You ever been on a blind date?” she asked.
“No,” I replied.
“Lucky you,” she said, popping in another raspberry. “Sorry I’m not much company, but it was a shit of a night. Old bloke, demanding, ungrateful, rude, and basically disgusting.” It was then she shivered and got the full sense of how bad her evening had been.
It was one of those situations where the less you know, the better as I was not one to offer her any advice as my life had been sheltered, hiding away in schools, teaching the unteachable and getting by day to day.
As the next station came into sight, she got up and said this was her stop.
“Good luck,” I said to her as she headed off.
“Gonna need more than that, the old bastard wants me again next Saturday, good thing he pays well. Those raspberries will give you a bit of a boost for your day, the Lower Year Nine’s will be more bearable today.”
With that, she disappeared, leaving me wondering how she knew anything about me let alone the Lower Year Nines.
But she was right, the raspberries energised me and my day flew by, the Lower Year Nine’s sat up and paid attention, I taught my best lesson that day and hoped the girl would reappear in my life sooner rather than later.