Fiction Sarah Rayner One Moment, One Morning

ISBN 13: 9780330508841

One Moment, One Morning

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9780330508841: One Moment, One Morning

The Brighton to London line. The 7:44 am train. Cars packed with commuters. One woman occupies her time observing the people around her. Opposite, a girl puts on her make-up. Across the aisle, a husband strokes his wife's hand. Further along, another woman flicks through a glossy magazine. Then, abruptly, everything changes: a man collapses, the train is stopped, and an ambulance is called.
For at least three passengers on the 7:44 on that particular morning, life will never be the same again. There's Lou, in an adjacent seat, who witnesses events first hand. Anna, who's sitting further up the train, impatient to get to work. And Karen, the man's wife.
Telling the story of the week following that fateful train journey, One Moment, One Morning is a stunning novel about love and loss, about family and – above all– friendship. A stark reminder that, sometimes, one moment is all it takes to shatter everything. Yet it also reminds us that somehow, despite it all, life can and does go on.

"Sinopsis" puede pertenecer a otra edición de este libro.

About the Author:

Sarah Rayner was born in London and now lives in Brighton with her partner. She worked for many years as an advertising copywriter, and now writes fiction full time.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

07:58

Lou is pretending to be asleep, but out of the corner of her eye she is watching the woman opposite put on her makeup. She always finds it fascinating, watching other women do this, constructing themselves, on the train. Lou never wears make-up, really, other than for very special occasions, and although she can understand it saves time, she finds it odd – choosing to make the transformation from private to public persona whilst commuting. It takes away the mystery, covering the blemishes, thickening the lashes, widening the eyes, plumping the cheeks, surrounded by people. And on the seven forty-four to Victoria, Lou is surrounded by people: most of them silent; many of them asleep, or at least dozing; some of them reading, and a few, a minority, chatting.

The woman on the seat adjacent to her, separated by the aisle, is one such person. Lou has her iPod on, softly, so she can’t hear what she is saying, although from the tilt of the woman’s head, it’s clear she is talking to a man to her right. Lou shifts in her seat, adjusts her parka hood, damp

from a cycle ride through drizzle to the station, so as to view them better round the fur lining. They are married. Matching rings, circling fingers circling cardboard coffee cups, betray this. The woman, Lou decides, is around forty.

Lou can’t observe her full on, but she appears to have the sort of face Lou likes. Her profile is interesting, attractive, if with faint traces of a jowl; her hair a thick curtain of chestnut brown. From what Lou can see of him, her husband is not quite as good looking; he is heavyset, greying – Lou reckons he is ten years his wife’s senior, maybe more – but his face is kind. There is a gentleness in his expression and the lines around his mouth, deep crevices, suggest he likes

to laugh. The woman leans affectionately against his shoulder. Before him is a thick paperback, the latest best-seller, but he’s not reading it; instead he strokes her hand, slowly, softly. Lou has a small pang of jealousy. She envies their tenderness and the way they show it without a second

thought.

The train pulls into Burgess Hill. It is pouring now, and weary commuters shake and close their umbrellas as they board. There is the sharp blow of a whistle to hurry them, and as the doors slide shut, Lou returns her gaze to the young woman opposite. Now she has finished applying shadow to her eyes, they have more emphasis: it is as if her whole face has acquired definition, an edge. Except the lips, still pale, appear bereft. Lou thinks she looked just as good without make-up: sweeter somehow, more vulnerable. Either way, though, she is pretty. And her hair, a mass of Fusilli blonde curls, is so ebullient, so springy, so different in texture from her own spiked and mousy crop, that Lou wants to reach out and touch it.

Lou watches as the young woman turns attention to her lips. Suddenly, the young woman stops, Cupid’s bow comically half pinked in, like an unfinished china doll. Lou follows her gaze back to the couple; the man has unexpectedly, embarrassingly, vomited. All down his jacket, his shirt, his

tie, there’s a stream of frothy, phlegmy milk, and bits of halfdigested croissant, like baby’s sick.

Lou unhooks one earphone, surreptitiously.

‘Oh, Lord!’ the woman is saying, frantically wiping the mess with the too-small napkin that’s come with her coffee. To no avail: with an infant gurgle, the man pukes again. This time it goes all over his wife’s wrist, splashes her chiffon blouse; even, horror, lands in the curtain of her hair.

‘I don’t know—’ he says, gasping, and Lou sees he is sweating, profusely, repugnantly, not normally at all. Then he adds, ‘I’m sorry . . .’

Lou is just thinking she knows what it is – the man is clutching his chest now – and she sits bolt upright, any pretence of discretion gone, when, boof! A thud and he lands, face down, on the table. And then he is still. Utterly still. For a few seconds – or so it seems – no one does anything. Lou simply watches his spilt coffee, follows the beige trail, drip drip drip, along the window ledge, down the side of the cream Formica table and onto the floor. Outside, rain-drenched trees and fields still whoosh by.

Then, pandemonium.

‘Simon! Simon!’ His wife has jumped up, is shouting.

Simon does not respond.

As his spouse shakes him, Lou catches a glimpse of his face, mouth open, sick still damp on his cheek, before he falls back, head lolling. She is sure she recognizes him; she’s seen him on this train before.

‘Jesus!’ says a disgruntled man opposite, shaking out his copy of the Telegraph. ‘What the devil’s wrong with him? He drunk or something?’ He harrumphs, judgement plain.

It’s as though his disapproval galvanizes Lou. ‘He’s having a heart attack, for fuck’s sake!’ She leaps to her feet, ancient Health & Safety training, Girl Guide badges, episodes of ER, all coming back in a rush. ‘Call the guard, somebody!’

Another man, young, scruffy, goatee-bearded, next to the woman who has been putting on her make-up, flings down his plastic bag, gets to his feet. ‘Which way?’ he asks Lou, as if she knows everything.

‘Middle carriage!’ cries the wife.

The young man looks unsure.

‘That way,’ says Lou, pointing to the front end of the train, and off he runs.

* * *

Three carriages along, Anna is treating herself to her favorite glossy magazine. In two stops she has devoured the lead article about a pop princess in rehab, and now she’s onto the ‘Most Wanted’ section, where she spies a jacket she hopes might suit her, from a chain store, new in for spring, very reasonably priced. She is just folding over the page as a reminder to check it out in her lunch hour when a young man with a goatee knocks her elbow as he rushes past.

‘Thanks,’ she mutters sarcastically. Annoying Brighton hippies, she thinks.

A few seconds later he returns at speed, the guard following closely. She reassesses the situation – both look anxious.

Perhaps something is up.

Then the driver’s voice can be heard over the speakers: ‘Are there any doctors or nurses aboard? If so, please contact the guard in carriage E.’

How will people know where carriage E is? Anna thinks.

But apparently they do know – barely ten seconds later two women charge past her, handbags flying behind. Anna raises her eyebrows at the passengers opposite. Such consternation is a rarity on the seven forty-four, where there is an unspoken rule of quietness and consideration. It is a bit alarming.

Shortly, the train pulls into Wivelsfield. Why are we stopping here? Anna worries. We normally speed straight through. She hopes it is just a signal, but fears it is something more sinister. Five minutes later, her disquiet has grown, and she is not alone: all about her people are getting impatient and shifting restlessly in their seats. Anna needs the train to be on time if she is not to be late for the office. She works freelance, and although she is on a long-term contract, her

employers are pedantic about timekeeping. They run a tight ship, and the boss has been known to wait scowling in reception, checking for tardy arrivals.

There is a ‘fuff fuff ’ of exhaling air into a microphone and another announcement: ‘I’m sorry but a passenger has been taken seriously ill on board. We’re going to be here for a few minutes while we wait for an ambulance.’

Her heart sinks and she thinks, why can’t they take whoever it is off the train and wait for an ambulance there? Then she berates herself for being uncharitable: one glance at the rain-soaked platform answers her question. It is February, chilly.

She is too distracted to read, so looks out of the window, watching the rain hit grey paving and gathering in pools where the surface is uneven. Wivelsfield, she thinks, where the hell is that? It is not somewhere she has ever visited; she has only been through it on the train.

Ten minutes turn to fifteen, twenty, with no further announcement. By this time, people are texting on their mobiles, or calling strings of unidentifiable numbers, most with voices low. Some, less neighborly, loudly state their lack of sympathy – ‘Not sure what’s wrong, someone taken "ill", apparently, probably a bloody drug addict . . .’ – whilst others seem to enjoy the opportunity to convey a sense of their own importance – ‘Sorry, Jane, Ian here, going to be late for the Board. Get them to hold off, will you, till I get there?’ and so on.

Then, at last, Anna sees three figures in Day-Glo anoraks rushing past the window, guiding a stretcher. Thank heavens: shouldn’t be long now.

She keeps her eyes fixed on the platform, expecting to see the stretcher returning with a body strapped to it, pushed at speed. But instead the tired concrete wall just stares back at her, the rain keeps falling, filling the hollows of the yellow ‘Mind the Gap’ warnings with more water.

Finally, a tap, a splutter, then: ‘I apologize again, ladies and gentlemen, it looks as if we’re going to be here for an unforeseeable duration. We’re unable to move the passenger. If I could just ask you to be patient, we’ll let you know as soon as we have news.’

There is a collective sigh, more shuffling.

How annoying, thinks Anna before she can stop...

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Descripción Pan MacMillan, United Kingdom, 2010. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. The Brighton to London line. The 07:44 train. Carriages packed with commuters. A woman applies her make-up. Another occupies her time observing the people around her. A husband and wife share an affectionate gesture. Further along, a woman flicks through a glossy magazine. Then, abruptly, everything changes: a man has a heart attack, and can t be resuscitated; the train is stopped, an ambulance called. For at least three passengers on the 07:44 on that particular morning, life will never be the same again. Lou witnesses the man s final moments. Anna and Lou share a cab when they realise the train is going nowhere fast. Anna is Karen s best friend. And Karen? Karen s husband is the man who dies. Telling the story of the week following that fateful train journey, One Moment, One Morning is a stunning novel about love and loss, about family and -- above all -- friendship. A stark reminder that, sometimes, one moment is all it takes, it also reminds us that somehow, and despite everything, life can and does go on. Nº de ref. de la librería AA79780330508841

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