As Grace listened to the distant whisper of the train approaching from further down the track, her heart sank. Gripping her mother’s hand tighter, she glanced up at her normally smiling face, noting instead the deeper lines of worry that now seemed permanently etched around her grey eyes and the pale strained look of her unsmiling mouth. Had it only been a few short weeks ago that they had laughed together in front of the vanity mirror, trying on different shades of lipstick and eyeshadow to make themselves look like glamorous and exotic Hollywood actresses? What changes only a few weeks could bring.
The train was so much closer now, it’s noise almost deafening, drowning out the hum of of voices from the other people waiting along the platform. As the carriages rolled to a stop in front of them, and the platform attendant slid open the heavy door, Grace felt tears well in her eyes. Her mother’s eyes were damp too, as she bent and kissed her gently on the cheek.
‘Be a good girl for your Aunt Susan’ she told her her voice husky with emotion, as she helped Grace up the steps and into the carriage. Handing her her small brown suitcase, she slid the door shut again stepping back to silently watch as the train slowly began to pull away from the station.
For her mother’s sake Grace refused to let the tears fall from her trembling lashes, even though she knew deep inside that, from this moment forward, her life would never again be the same.