19/07/2013 13:48 BST | Updated 18/09/2013 06:12 BST

When Family Reunions Go Wrong


Holy Shitballs! My family are waiting for me on the platform!

I'd seen this sort of thing happen before and knew what I had to do.

The way it works is this. You get off the busy train after a hard day at work and spot your loving family on the platform. They have come to meet you, to surprise you. You notice them before they spot you and you can see the excitement in your children's eyes as they scan the crowd looking for their beloved father. People walk past them quickly, they want to rush home to their families too but they recognise what is about to happen for one lucky person - a mini family reunion on the station platform. An exquisite snapshot of the perfect family. For them a brief glimpse of the domestic paragon. For you a chance to flaunt your good fortune to your fellow commuters.

The children should be wearing matching knitwear and your partner should look maternal (with noticeable undertones of filthy). I've seen this scenario a hundred times: the moment your child sees you and, barely able to contain his joy, he breaks into a run shouting "Daddy!" or "Beloved Father!" or somesuch. It's even better if you have two children. Did I mention I have two children?So you can imagine my joy when I spot them on the platform as the train pulls in. This is my turn! My chance to give these familiar faces, these people I get on the train with every day, a glimpse into the Conmy family, to create a moment that they remember every time they look at me.

I am so ready for this. What could possibly go wrong?


The train pulls in and I am first out of the doors, it is important that my fellow commuters are still behind me to witness this magical moment, to see the joy on my children's faces, the adoring (with undertones of filthy) look on my wife's face.

My son sees me first and, as expected, his face lights up and he breaks into a run, I am a little disappointed that he has yet to shout "Beloved Father" or somesuch but this is a minor gripe in what will inevitably be the ultimate hollywood train platform family reunion.

As you know, there is an accepted position to receive your children rushing to you on the platform which involves going down on one knee and spreading your arms wide, you then gather them up whilst they kiss you and carry them back to the wife for a lingering look and a peck on the cheek with "undertones of filth". Fellow commuters should look on jealously at this point.

My son is running towards me and my daughter is close behind so I assume the position, on bended knee with arms spread wide.

Which is when it all goes wrong.

Two things happen.

The first thing that happens is I realise quite quickly that I am, in fact, kneeling in a puddle. A rather deep puddle. Much worse is the second thing that happens: as the train starts to pull away my son gets distracted from his purpose, slows down and stops to watch it go, my daughter is likewise mesmerised and stands with her brother to watch it pull out. Leaving me kneeling in a puddle for no apparent reason. I wave my hands frantically to try to refocus them on the task at hand but I can't compete with a moving train. Still a full 30 yards away from my children, my surprise kneeling position looks a little odd. My fellow commuters are giving me concerned looks as they walk around me.

Has he fallen?

Why is he on his knees?

Is he praying?

Are those Jazz hands?

Confused faces file past me - this is not the unforgettable moment I was hoping for.

My wife has caught up with the kids, and I think "Perhaps I can salvage something here?" but suddenly she is greeted by an attractive male friend and starts chatting away. I get up off my sodden knees and walk towards them.

"This is a nice surprise!" I say smiling at her and her attractive male friend. He has perfect teeth and the knees of his trousers look very dry.

My children are still watching the train as it shrinks into the distance. This is quite annoying but I decide to be the bigger man so I say nothing and mentally remove a present from their respective Christmas lists.

"Yeah, I was just telling Paul, we managed to lock ourselves out of the house and the kids got bored of waiting"

"Oh," I say, mentally removing one from her list and giving her a noticeably filthy look of my own.