BAKER STREET STATION, 8:
EIGHT O’CLOCK A.M.
Baker Street Station, London, England
Boom, Boom! goes my heart at eight o'clock in the morning while I wait on Baker Street Station’s west platform for the Circle Line train in London, England.
One hour earlier, Terry (my wife) and Dorothy (my daughter) had left our home in Walthamstow, and taken the train to Baker Street Station.
And what am I doing at that hour of the morning in the London subway station? ... The story goes like this:
In 1998 Terry was pregnant with Dorothy. And since we both worked full time, we talked about who would take care of the baby when she was born.
Normally, a British couple would pay someone, or some nursery, to take care of their young children while they work. But that was out of the question for us, because the costs were beyond our means.
So we decided that I should stay at home to take care of the baby and see whether I could work nights. My bosses accepted the change of shift and gave me a half shift from 4 to 8 am in the offices located one block away from Baker Street Station.
Boom, Boom! goes my heart. A sign announces that the eight o'clock train will arrive at any moment. I'm ready, standing on the very edge of the end of the platform where the sliding doors of the last carriage will open, and Terry will appear with Dorothy in her arms.
Meanwhile, Terry has already unbuckled the "kanguru" baby carrier that holds Dorothy, and she is ready for when the train stops and the doors are opened.
Boom, Boom! goes my heart. The train has stopped. I am in the right place. The doors are opening, Terry looks around for me among the platform crowd, finds me and steps down to hand me the baby and jump back on the train just before the doors are about to close...with an extra second to mouth a silent farewell before the train takes off.
There were many mornings when I arrived a few seconds late to Baker Street Station’s west platform, and I lost my "place" in the exact spot where the sliding doors of the Circle Line’s last carriage would open.
But even though the platform was always crowded, many of the waiting passengers were the same people who were there every morning. And if I lost my "place", there was always the voice of a European gringa who would say these words: "Please, excuse me, this gentleman needs to stand on the very edge of the platform.”
For Terry and I this was the morning routine from the time Dorothy was born until four and a half years later, when we moved from Europe to New Hampshire, USA.
At first, Terry handed Dorothy to me in the "kanguru" baby carrier. Then things got a little bit more complicated, since Dorothy came in a push chair (stroller). But the plan still worked.
And if it ever failed, it was not our fault. It was due to something like railway employee strikes, or security alerts. In these cases the train station closed. But we had a Plan "B".
And what was Plan “B” about?
Terry would take the baby to her work in Notting Hill, and I would reach them by some other means of transport.
In these cases, when arriving to Terry’s classroom, the scene was always the same: the students were not paying much attention to the teacher, “Miss Terry”, since they all preferred to play with her daughter.
Since my family and I left London in 2003, we always return to this great city every couple of years. Among the spots I visit I like to go back to my "place" on Baker Street Station’s west platform.
I go to it in pilgrimage, in search of strength and inspiration. And because I think there are things in life that we must love forever.
New Hampshire, USA
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