another black sun

travel post Covid can be stressful due to quite unexpected delays where previous reliable service was usual, and if you are travelling with mobility issues unexpected hurdles are more difficult to negotiate.

Yesterday I arrived in Brussels to yet another scenario of this sort. Getting more and more tired with every new turn or hurdle, I waited for a promised assistance porter from eurostar to guide me to the platform where my train was finally supposed to be leaving with 2 hrs delay in my journey. They did not show – so eventually I made my way to the Belgian train office to ask for directions, explaining my previous predicament when they had changed platforms at the last minute. I was given reasonable guidance and was quickly on my way to find the lift to the platform indicated. It did not take me long to find it but I was surprised as it seemed to be hidden in a corner – and indeed, once the doors opened on the platform I was looking into the far distance of the spaghetti of rails: At the very end of the platform.

Turning back on myself once I stepped out, I could see a VERY narrow path alongside the lift building some to meters or so – leading back to the main platform. Anxiety or no – there was no way I could safely negotiate this, especially not with my luggage in tow. So I decided to go back into the lift to check whether the other side would open as a door to the main platform. It did not. With less than 10 mins to departure time, I decided to retrace my steps to the Belgian train office, risking another train being missed. Ah, there two rail workers appeared out of nowhere in the lift and, initially confused where I wanted to go, one of them with a big smile took charge of the situation, grabbed my luggage and shielded me from the anxiety that was now ripe. And he even rushed along after me to the end of the train which sure enough seemed to wait just for me, and he lifted my luggage in for me. I thanked him again and again – a smile and off he went back to whatever his job was.

you don’t know a black sun*

until you have been helped

kindness – just present

stock photo; not an image of the man who helped me

*I believe I am borrowing the term from James Baldwin and may have done so on a previous occasion

~ by Barbara S on October 5, 2022.

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