Don’t get the title confused with the book and now movie “Girl on The Train.” This story is a little bit different from that. And maybe, a lot more scary. Because people really do think they can talk to you like this.
Michael and I each held a weathered black leash in hand as we ambled our tired bodies up to the tram stop. We both looked how we felt: defeated. We’ve been looking at apartments and houses and they either are wrong in their description online, won’t allow dogs, or we are too slow to make a decision. The real estate market in Germany is intense, and we are just trying to rent a property.
The crowded tram arrived and we stepped up to get on with the other passengers. Our English Springer Spaniel, Millie, gets pretty nervous on public transportation and immediately yanked the line of her leash, and me attached, under the nearest chair. Hugo, our Doberman, was busy making friends with passengers who fearfully moved away or pet him as he looked them directly in the eye with the seated passengers.
I held onto the railing as Millie made a hideout under a hard blue seat next to a baby carriage. I said “Entschulidigen” (Excuse me) to her when the tram started and I lost my balance a bit, knocking her in the knee. She smiled, and immediately spoke English to me, “Is that your dog?”
“Yes,” I said brightly, loving any excuse to talk about the dogs.
“And that one over there?”
“Yes, both are my mine. And my husband’s.”
She looked over, then continued, “Can I pet her?”
“Of course,” I said and looked on, proudly.
“Where are your children?” she asked, without hesitation.
I was a bit startled but answered, “I don’t have any.”
“Oh. Why not? How old are you?”
“Excuse me?” was all I could manage.
She laughed, pulling at the zipper on her designer bag, “Are you not going to have kids? Why don’t you have any yet? You don’t want kids.”
I was so shocked. This was a middle aged, well-dressed woman who I didn’t know from Adam asking me, bluntly, why I didn’t have kids.
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