How We Nearly Missed the Train from Kandy to Ella

I dreamt that night, like I did every night. A faint singing entered my delusions, its high pitched chimes growing ever louder. My vision faded and I drew myself back fo consciousness, confused to still hear the piano keys humming in the background. After rolling a little, it then occurred to me that this wasn't a fantasy after all but more the nightmare calls of our alarm clock. It couldn't possibly be morning already, could it? I was certain that I'd only actually managed to drift off to sleep after the silencing of the endless arguments of aggressive canines that echoed around the suburbs of Kandy.

I turned off the persistent alarm before glancing at Lewis who seemed to scarcely be able to move. We were both absolutely drained after the busy few days we'd endured. The last thing we really wanted to be doing now was rushing for the 8.30am train all the way to Ella.

There was a knock on our bedroom door. I scrambled out of bed to greet our host Peter who was informing me that breakfast was ready for us downstairs and we'd need to eat it quick to stand a chance of making the train. I glanced towards the bed out of the corner of my eye to see that Lewis still hadn't moved. I had a sneaky suspicion that he simply wasn't up to the long journey ahead of us and pondered how I could break the news to Peter. I decided I needed a few more moments to gather my thoughts. In addition to this, I was undeniably starving so I postponed the task by telling Peter I'd be down in 5 minutes.

I shut the door and looked back sympathetically to Lewis who had resulted to putting a pillow on his head. As much as I'd been looking forward to the train ride from Kandy to Ella, Lewis' health was far more important to me. The 7 hour train ride may simply be too much for him and I must admit, even myself. Plus, I was aware that I could arrange a taxi later that day that would take closer to 3 hours. This may be the better option, even though I'd already bought our train tickets.

"I'll let them know that we can't make the train this morning." I told Lewis over my shoulder after I'd got dressed and prepared to go downstairs.

I felt hollow as I trudged down the white stone steps of the villa. I'd managed to screw up again with our trip. Had I been more sensible and spaced things out more, we'd probably be in a far better state. Now, as a result of my foolishness, we were going to have to miss out on arguably the highlight of the entire Sri Lanka trip.

At the bottom of the stairs was Peter and Irean who were waiting expectedly with smiles on their faces. Irean had just prepared a gorgeous breakfast which was already laid out for us.

"Good morning!" Irean began excitedly. "Are you ready for breakfast?"

I thought carefully about my next words. "Lewis is feeling sick." I started, only to decide that was a mistake as the looks of happiness quickly turned to looks of horror.

"Sick?" Irean gasped. "Do you want us to call a doctor? Did you eat something bad? Has he been sick? Does he have a fever?"

My head was spinning. It was clear that our hosts took illness very seriously so perhaps I should have been a little less dramatic.

"No, no. I think he just needs rest." I responded calmly. "I don't think we will be able to make the train to Ella this morning."

"But you already have second class tickets!" Irean exclaimed, growing ever frantic. "Those tickets are so hard to get hold of."

"I know. But Lewis needs to rest. He is very tired. We can just book a taxi later today."

"Are you sure he doesn't need to see a doctor?"

"Yes, he just needs some rest." I insisted.

"Oh, but it is such a shame to miss the train." Irean looked sorrowful.

All the while Peter had watched on in dismay. At last he spoke, "I will at least take your tickets to the station to try to sell your train tickets and get your money back, as they are very valuable."

"I know. But Lewis needs to rest. He is very tired. We can just book a taxi later today."

"Are you sure he doesn't need to see a doctor?"

"Yes, he just needs some rest." I insisted.

"Oh, but it is such a shame to miss the train." Irean looked sorrowful.

All the while Peter had watched on in dismay. At last he spoke, "I will at least take your tickets to the station to try to sell your train tickets and get your money back, as they are very valuable."

I was feeling overwhelmed. Although I hadn't mentioned anything, I wasn't feeling fantastic myself. My body ached with fatigue and my mind was feeling muddled with thoughts of rearranging the rest of the trip. I was about to tell Peter that he didn't need to go to the trouble of trying to sell them just because of our mistake but then a voice sounded from behind me on the stairs.

"It's okay, Ella. I'm feeling slightly better now."

I turned around to see Lewis standing at the top of the stairs, all dressed ready for the day ahead. "We will still get the train."

With only minutes before we were due to leave for the station, I was having difficulty eating my breakfast. Irean had prepared a wonderful banquet which included sweet pancakes, egg hoppers (alongside a really spicy sauce), fruit, toast and many more. I wanted to embrace the food but my stress for getting to the station on time numbed my appetite so I could only manage one pancake. I really didn't want to let all this gorgeous food go to waste so what i didn't eat, I requested a bag to put it in so I could eat it later. I was bound to get hungry on a 7 hour train ride!

Lewis did a lot better than I did in terms of food and had practically eaten all of his rations. Which meant we just had one egg hopper, a banana and one pancake to take with us on the train.

Irean wished us farewell as we gathered our bags and leapt into the back of Peter's car. The engine juddered to life and we waved goodbye to our villa in Kandy. Now we could only pray that we would make the train in time.

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