Making Sense

The teacher of a class of Year 5s contacted me through my website  to say that he had been reading Someone Like Me to his students, and would I mind answering these five questions about the book?

‘Of course,’ I said. ‘I love requests like this.’

The first four questions were pretty straight forward. But number five was a curly one.

5. What did the kids in Tas’s school do after he left?I had to tell them that I didn’t know. Authors don’t, and can’t, know everything about their characters. Just as in life, there are certain things we don’t know, and will never know, in spite of the amazing Mr Google and the prevalence of reference libraries. 

Last week my husband, Peter, was invited to an important lunch in the city. Given the difficulties of parking, he decided to drive to Daglish Station, park his car, and go by train. That was before his already complicated life became even more so, and I drove him instead. I dropped him off at the restaurant and we agreed that, when he needed to come home, he would catch the train to Daglish and I would pick him up from there.

Daglish Station

In the fullness of time he phoned me and said he was on the train and would be about half an hour. I drove to Daglish, parked my car in the Station Car Park, and waited. While I was sitting in my car, an elderly man with a walking stick made his way slowly and laboriously up the ramp and onto the platform, which was well above the level of my car.

Eventually a train from the direction of the city pulled in to the Station – and out again. I waited for Peter to ring me and ask where I was parked. When he didn’t, I rang him. Our phones didn’t connect, for some reason, so I got out of my car and was phoning again when I saw him talking to the old man, who turned towards me and pointed. I waved and Peter came down to the car park.

‘Who is that old man?’ I asked when Peter reached me.

‘I have no idea,’ he said. ‘I was looking around, with my phone to my ear, and he said, “She’s down there.”

How did a complete stranger on a train station know that Peter was looking for me? Of all the people coming and going to and from the station that day, how did he put the two of us together? Like question 5, we will probably never know the answer.