The Empty Waiting Room

I am five in this memory, heading back home from my grandmother’s house.

On the way back home, we take a local train to the Oyama station where we catch the bullet train back to Sendai. Normally, we wait on the platform, but today, our train is delayed. My mother takes us to the waiting room located one level below the platform.

The station itself is quite deserted, but this waiting room is empty except us. No entertainment is provided in this room. Only the benches.

As soon as we settle in the middle of the room, my mother opens her backpack and gives us our regular snacks – toddler biscuits, candies, and our favourite Muscat grape chewing gums. At first, my brother and I remain on the bench like well-behaved children. But it does not take long before our abundant energy steels the calm away. We leave our spots and start running around the empty waiting room with the packages of Muscat grape chewing gums in our hands.

Once in a while, we circle back to our mother to ask the same question. “Is our train coming yet?”

Her answer is the same. “No, not yet.”

By the time she finally stands up and waves at us, my brother and I have thoroughly explored the waiting room so that even each single dust would have been familiar to us.

“Sweeties, let’s go!”

As soon as my mother calls us, we dash back to join her. It is finally time to leave this monotonic room and ready ourselves for an exciting train ride.